21 Questions

I slipped into Lake Washington and finally exhaled. The day’s sun still burned from my skin and in a first moment of cool relief, submerged, I thought of you. You left me in a heady daze, pinned against a wall after strong coffee and light sleep. “Ask me your questions,” you had said hours earlier when I was curled alongside you and in the openness of such a suggestion, I was stone.

But suspended in the lake, just cool enough that I shivered with each passing breeze, questions simply flowed from drips to a deluge.

Do you remember that moment from our [Thurs]date when I first put my hand on your knee? You had been joking or telling a story in that epic way you have of painting narratives. Feeling you beneath me, I surprised myself with how quickly, how comfortably I had reached out. I caught a quick breath and looked at you: I’ll see him again, I thought. But I almost didn’t, did I? There’s another version of this in another universe. An ephemeral connection; a possible romance.

And still, I would have kept you in my mind. Your smile—I didn’t anticipate your smile. I’ll think of it first and the sly way you’ll coax me: “Come on.” With soft restraint, you light me up. But it’s the unexplored depth of that daydream that teases me. Do you think about it, too?

And what of my room? Those four walls that can seem boundless in their limited world. Inside them, we’re not weighed down by external rules and standards. Any sense of time, of timelines, disappears. Yet, an alarm inevitably rings.

I’ve wondered if our worlds beyond a Ballard bedroom might ever be at odds. My work’s guiding beacon remains the belief that health is a human right. What is yours? Do ends justify the means in our lives’ pursuits, K, or might we cycle in a deontological discussion?  Perhaps we’re both lines for treating an ever-present cancer: scalpel and salve. Are we strengths in different forms?

Am I strong enough for you? Is it a weakness to even ask? This isn’t a question I’ve ever considered before: stark independence and quiet detachment being the tragic flaws brought forth to me so far. But there’s a difference with you. Or is it a change in me?

Do you see? How much more revealing questions can be than answers. And yet, in capturing them I’ve released the risk that petrified my voice. Now you can guess—guess what it is I’m thinking.

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