On rain days like today, when it’s just barely raining, I remove my glasses and stuff them into a pocket, or someplace where they won’t collect the litter-like detritus of the gleeky rain. I am always surprised at first to remember how different color looks without the “help” of corrective lenses. Through any pair of glasses I’ve ever used color looks drained, and square. Without glasses all color seems to breathe, release, expand. Of course the blurriness of uncorrected vision might feed that metaphor of expansion. But I think “expansion ” suits the texture of color in how different it looks to me through truly naked eyes. It feels like I’ve pierced the present and opened another dimension into the past, where all beasts calmly awaited the future.

Today’s commute had some weirdnesses. Why was the W train stopped on the middle express track? Why did it go into motion as I stepped onto the platform? Nothing to do with me, of course, but sometimes I see a train leaving the station as a living cliché for something about my life, my life. I’ve had it happen a few times this year where I expected a train station to be anticipating the arrival of a train only to find that instead a train was leaving right as I stepped onto the platform. That feels like a minor moment from a major nightmare. The start of an unconscious apocalypse.

Yesterday’s commute had a minor moment as well. The woman I admire but will never speak to was sitting right next to me and I was not aware. Seems like a forgettable observation. Two people seeing each other on the subway every day without ever sharing a word or even a grunt of recognition or acknowledgement should raise no eyebrows. But I read her words and wait for her images, some of them revealing herself fully bare, while I secretly make video of myself showering and masturbating almost every single day. I think of our solitary pursuits as a kind of communal solidarity, communal solitudinous, not for any expectations or aspirations of contact beyond our daily passings but for the recognition and respect of like-minded souls.

Speaking of this kind of quasi-stalking mentality I did something a few days ago that might strike some as creepy but to me it was inevitable. I dated a woman some years ago who was horrible to me. Mean, nasty, abusive. Yet somehow I came away from the multiple ghostings wanting more. She was no longer beautiful, never very bright, and kind enough when sober but nasty and potentially violent when drunk. We were drunk most of the time. After her threats of physical assault she would always kiss me, then leave.

After she ghosted me the so far final time I stayed away. She lives nearby and passing her house used to be inevitable, until I mentally found ways to make it seem like an inconvenient nuisance, passing her house every single day like I did before we finally connected and touched each other everywhere.

This avoidance did not last long. It could not have been more than a couple of months after it ended with her that I found myself patrolling past her house every single day, sometimes three or four times in a single day, hoping to catch her as she exited or entered the house. This was how we connected in the first place. Persistence paid off when she spotted me, pointed at me, said “It’s you!” From there it might as well have been straight to her couch and then mattress, so certain was our mutual attraction.

I persisted in this until Covid, when I caught a signal through social media that she was completely avoiding all human beings until that shit passed, which it never did and never will. I stopped my passive pursuit, through all of which I never made myself an unwanted presence or any kind of presence in her life. I just passed by hoping to get her attention again.

I had not passed her house more than once or twice for about a year, I think, when I performed the ritual again on Sunday. This passage opened with me questioning if she even still lived there anymore. She’d have been there something like 11 years, I think, which seems like a long time to me.

I know she is there. I found evidence. Without seeing her or committing any act more scandalous than looking at the ground I saw her name on a torn-off piece of cardboard. It was an address label with her name on it. This felt like I had visited her tombstone, given the location on the soil. But it was enough for me to see and know that she is still where I left her, where she left me.

I took photos of this strange find, and moved along, expecting nothing, anticipating less.

After she ghosted me the second time it was a few months before Vivia, the Japanese waif, entered my life. Unlike the previous woman sex with Vivia was automatic. At times it seemed unstoppable. In the first weeks with her I’d get sore all through my innards and outards. Sore from fucking. A good kind sore, I guess, but it made me feel creaky at times. With Vivia I put the previous woman away, in the forgotten past. But when Vivia disappeared on me, and then after a short and puzzling dalliance with a doctor, the other woman returned, to my mind but not my body. All for best, I suspect. The meanness, the coarse abusiveness, the near-assault. What’s not to get nostalgic about with all that?