I scowled out at the dark parking lot and watched people begin to trickle in, two by two like symmetry. My breath was white like nuclear steam until I gave-up waiting and went inside. The room was warm and well-populated and I swear a slight hesitation was on everyone's tongue. The crowd was nowhere near as massive as the one drawn by Neil Gaimon when he visited last year, or as familiar as when Michael Cunningham stopped by to read for thirty-minutes a few weeks back.
"You know? That's just how they are. In so many situations. They are nice to his face, and they are nice when they rip him to shreds..." Leaning over a guy from one of my classes I whispered to another friend. We used to sit under his stairwell at the beginning of this semester. We made plans to decorate it with posters and Christmas lights and a little candle-shrine. But we stopped talking out of the blue when our schedules and obligations interfered. "Yeah," he nodded, "I noticed. I tried to be supportive. I know what it's like to question to my faith."
Faith. The word was almost unrecognizable in my mind. Like the sound of a moth's wings. You know you hear it, you see them like dusty brown papers titillating with a vague shimmer against the porch light. The night is late, 3 or 4 AM. You spent all evening and night in the back of his Jeep with your head on his shoulder, watching shooting-stars and telling yourself that life will always be perfect. Having faith in your ability to hold it all together. Then you see the moth, feel the wings brush by your tangled hair. You swear you hear its tiny wings beating frantically past and on into the night. Then it's gone. It was real, you know it was real. The next morning you're fixing your hair and you wonder in the back of your mind if it was only your imagination.
Then she was standing at the front of the room in mismatched clothes and a messy ponytail on the right side of her symmetrical face. Naomi was incredibly real. She had emotion. Hearing her read her work was an amazing experience. It was not about "terrorism and shit", it was about anything and everything that ever has and can matter to anyone. When she spoke, she spoke to me. She spoke to my classmate, and the guy next to him, and everyone. She just had that ability to reach.
I want the ability to reach.
I will pursue the ability to reach.