“I loved the water of you, the snake of
you, everything amorphous and short-lived,
as I expected nothing to last of us.”
– Excerpt from Nommo in September, Hannah Sanghee Park
The first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only change forms: sparks create fire; atom bombs create explosions. I thought about this last Halloween, when we visited the family mausoleum. I sat in front of my grandmother’s tomb with a candle illuminating the dark crevices as it slowly melted to death. Since they are buried underneath the tile floors of the mausoleum, there was no choice but to sit, stand or lie above the deceased. It’s not disrespectful; that’s just the architectural design of the afterlife.
I laid down next to my grandmother, the way I did as a child when we used to share a bed in our small New York apartment, the way I laid next to her the morning she had a fatal stroke. I imagined that I could feel the vibration of her atoms. I imagined that it was the vibration of a rocket ship punching the stratosphere, her tomb as my backrest, and we were on our way to the edge of the universe as dark matter expands it. It will be a long ride. Spacefarers Michael and Taciana, grandson and grandmother, sailing through the cosmos.
The first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only change forms: sparks create fire; atom bombs create explosions. I thought about this years ago, while kissing her jugular notch, her straddling me in the backseat of her SUV.
“I’ll make love to you everyday,” I told her when she moved her face closer. She cried.
Words, too, can create fire. Sparks by Coldplay was playing softly through the speakers. I touched the frame of the window.
“This. This is my idea of a perfect world. I mean, not the car, the engineering is shit on this model, but you and me…and Chris Martin lurking somewhere in the background…and nothing else inside this bubble. I want to photocopy this moment and staple it all over my room until it’s completely covered.”
When we finally had to call it a night an hour before sunrise, I remember I had forgotten my eyeglasses in the passenger door compartment. She, still in the backseat, leaned forward to unlock the front door for me. I remember her silhouette, the arch of her back, her hair hanging down over her cheeks. I leaned forward and kissed her.
It sounds juvenile now, but that one simple, short gesture is tattooed in my mind. We’ve never had a normal relationship and something so normal, like a kiss on the lips, gave me a glimpse of what could’ve been if life, warfare, and heartbreak hadn’t gotten in the way.
When I got home, the residue of her favorite perfume, the same one she wore on our first date years before, coated my skin and shirt. It rubbed off on my pillow, my entire bed, until her presence in my dark, empty room eased me to sleep.