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Eyes See What I See
Lips Who Am I?
Ear Find My Work
What’s Your Mood? What’s Your Mood?
CONNECT Talk to Me
Eve's Inner Witness Is a Monster

 

 

It’s day somewhere else, where a looming night still threatens, a distant place, unseen, but felt, considered, like all places where it’s sometimes day, sometimes night. Here, it’s a winter night stitched together with dark clouds, shrouding like funeral fabric, brought into notice by a sizzling gas heater under which Eve shudders, intercepting the evening’s chill, while its glow lights Adam up.

Eve and Adam eat together as young couples do, with the hours of dinner transpiring like the phases of the moon, in quarters. All their talk, like fireworks, erupts as aghast faces that disappear without a trace. Together they make note of how plentiful jackfruit is this time of year, in their salads, in their cocktails, in their conversation. Adam doesn’t eat much fruit, finding it at odds with his gut. Eve could eat a mango a day. She thinks fondly back to the summer, when mangos were in bounty, both ripe and sweet. July reminds Adam of ski vacations. 

Now they are in eclipse. 

Eve cuts through a pavlova cake with a spoon then pushes some into her mouth, wrinkling her nose at its fateful tartness. She clicks her tongue loudly. Adam tells her that if she wants more dessert, she’ll have to finish what’s in front of her. Adam tells Eve it’s not good to waste. She eyes the menu under his plate, its liquid stains incandescent from a meal devoured, then puts down her spoon. 

Adam also tells her that he’s thinking about leaving. Eve brightens up, thinking it’s restaurants they’re moving and smacks her lips at the prospects of better dessert. Adam corrects her, tells her it’s cities he’s talking about. She picks up the spoon.

They’d lived here so long, they’d planned their deaths here. Eve wants to be cremated, her ashes used as compost for a tree. Adam wants to be buried by the sea, so little by little it can take him away. When they first met, they would lay awake at night talking about life and death with their legs intertwined, exchanging notes on their compatibility and finding their difference of opinion between the beach and the mountains charming. They fantasized about other lives, like how life might be for a bull or a shark, without ever wanting to grow horns or fins. They weren’t afraid to ask questions with comprehensible answers they could go on to ignore without guilt. They shared ideas like a bed.

Adam says they’ve been here too long, and Eve says to him they can catch a night cap at the bar down the road, where the day drunks stay till night and the night drunks never go home. He corrects her again, says it’s still the city he’s talking about.

Eve wants to ask Adam how long he’s been keeping his declaration a secret. But Adam busies himself with the server, asking after the check and the valet as if he expects their conversation was had, perhaps on a night like this one, several many nights ago, and Eve feels she simply hadn’t been paying enough attention. Adam has often told her how she’s a poor listener, hearing which she’d snap into focus and repeat his accusation word for word to show him otherwise. She takes another bite of the cake and retracts her question, beaten down into her body like the blankets they use to keep warm.

After they pay the check, Eve reminds Adam they’ve lived here forever, and elsewhere is just a place they used to talk about. She throws around the word forever as if it is prefixed and immutable, and not a product of occasion, which for Adam it is. It’s made up of days, he tells her, of which there are many to come. Adam is always telling her something.

Adam is exceptionally skilled at summaries, so whatever stories he tells all make sense to Eve, although in retrospect she finds her understanding of them alters in intervals, either cooling to a stagnant completion or heating the heart into disrepair. He tends to describe the future with the weight of the past, like a politician, but since he references time that’s passed concretely, concluding who he is today, she shies away from probing, not asking after her own certain uncertainties, that her own memory is quite unverifiable.

He tucks his wallet back into his jeans, his hands shivering as if he has finally caught the cold. He says he feels drunk, light-headed and drained. He wants to leave. 

Eve finishes the pavlova cake, then asks for a wine list. The server informs them it’s the last call, and suggests they go to the bar down the road if they want to continue drinking. The word continue irks Adam, who decides he’d rather stay if only because he can be sure of when the night will end. He orders the wine, at which Eve smiles, happy they’ll stay.

Now Eve hopes Adam will ask her something, about why she doesn’t want to see what she’d be like in the rest of the world, elsewhere, not here. But his shoulders are rounded out like they do when his mind is made up. His shoulders are broad, a forceful figure, even mountain-esque when observed from across the table when under the gaslight he may appear shrunken. His body language is also telling. 

Adam wants out of their death plans. 

Eve wants to touch his face, and brush his stubble between her two fingers. She used to curl up in his arms like a cat, though he was the one who let her pet him. Adam looks into his glass, sucking the tartness out of his wine. Suddenly Eve wishes she hadn’t asked for the wine, for the obstruction it presents between their faces, and how it gives Adam something to do instead of talk.

Silence looks old on them. She pictures him with gray hair, how in time his back will crinkle and his skin will first stretch then collapse. But sitting across from each other at an intimate bistro table, their arms able to touch but not doing so, their chests have changed shape. Neither of them knew this was possible, that time can also pass like this.

Adam checks his watch and decides it’s late. He tells Eve she should want to leave too. She shakes her head no but Adam assumes she means yes. They were once the same person, thinks Eve. She could ask him something, anything.

She could ask him what time it is, and Adam would tell her, down to the second with such a professorial air she would end up apologizing for not wearing a watch. On the matter of elsewhere Eve doesn’t know what Adam will say – where, for how long, and if it’s with or without her – so she doesn’t ask. 

Eve wonders what Einstein would say about such relativity, after two cocktails and a bottle of wine. E = motherfuckin’ I’ve had enough of you, or so she imagines. If he was a smoker, Eve might get up to have a cigarette with him, be helpful with a light, and he might tell her that she is such an awful person but that he’s really enjoyed this dinner with her. 

She waits outside the restaurant for Adam to bring the car around, suddenly wishing she could walk home instead. Except, as she thinks it, she lets out a laugh so shrill the woman standing next to her is startled. Eve couldn’t find her way back home even if she was covered in eyes. For her these roads exist as a skeleton does, logically and inconceivably, and when she ambles through them she finds she is at least always somewhere.

The drive home feels longer than they’re both used to. Eve wonders if Adam has done it on purpose, tricking her into thinking this whole place is make-believe because they can choose where they want to go, and how fast or slow. Adam looks ahead, his gaze surpassing the headlights, not turning his head to look even when the car turns.

The stars are all a blur in the windswept motion of the window, but Eve insists she’d only know them here, like this, since these are her stars. They burn like ash cherries piercing through silk sheets.