No part of us is dead. I encounter our characters in stumbled-upon places:
between the lines of the novel I’m reading (right now it’s Normal People— you’re Connell and I’m Marianne. It’s self-explanatory; you’d understand if you ever stumble upon a copy)
and on the corner of Main Street where giddy couples on dates slam the pedestrian button as an attempt to play God with the traffic light (remember when we were beautifully idiotic enough to try, over and over and over again?)
and in the experimental films I watch in the wee hours of almost-dawn when I can’t be bothered to sleep (almost always these days. Rest is a lost art). In those films, the supposed lovers in question never end up together (predictably star-crossed, Hollywood-esque, Shakespearean archetype!) but they’re given satisfactory (yet still tragic) endings anyway, just adequate enough to stomach.
In my memory I’m trying to preserve our ending as something satisfactory, too– an entity of good enough— which means that these days I practice smiling at those infatuated kids comically desperate for their turn to cross the street. They’re young and they deserve the experience of fleeting perfection. I don’t roll my eyes at their obvious eagerness anymore. Because that used to be us, and everyone deserves that. I watch through the credits of the three-hour-long films even though I know how they end. I’m twenty pages from finishing Normal People, and while I’m half-hoping Sally Rooney wrote Marianne and Connell tethered forever, I’d understand if she chose comfortably apart instead.
Somehow we are still alive (in the spaces between, the endless distances, the quietudes, peripherals, and parentheticals.) And that, my old friend, is peace.