Sitting in front of my computer at night, I can perfectly envision the reaction – the overlap, the rejection, the vector of projection, the object of collision – but I can’t make it happen quite the way I want. It’s always just a little bit off. It always comes out just slightly wrong. Over and over I test it out, hoping these increasingly tiny and finicky changes I’ve implemented are enough to make it right, make it finally reach the perfect feel I can envision, but as I move towards it it always seems to be in half-measures, Zeno’s paradox, always an infinitesimal distance away.
After the stroke my dad came to suffer from the affliction ‘apraxia’. As distinct from the more well-known condition aphasia, which makes it difficult or impossible to recall the appropriate words, apraxia affects the muscle memory of the vocal apparatus, causing one to forget how to form the correct words. He so often knows exactly what he wants to say, but can’t quite remember how the sound is shaped, and has to feel is way through it, step by step, tasting the outline of the word he wants to speak as he goes.
Negotiating the boundaries of an unknown relationship, something that could come to mean something big in my life, I try to verbally navigate the labyrinths of another human being, of what motives she reads from my words and silences, mysterious to me, plain to her. Bit by bit, we spotlight the miscommunications, the expectations unfulfilled, the connections missed, the worries that burrow, and we try to eradicate them with a deeper understanding, try to align our disparate languages to find a common tongue.
We’re lost. Admit it, we’re lost, so fucking lost, and desperately looking for landmarks. The signature of what we know is lost in the inky blank void of everything that is unknowable, and if you’re going anywhere at all and if you’re paying any attention at all you’ll notice there’s nothing outside of that window that looks familiar in the least. Everything that seems like it might be something familiar is actually something else underneath that surface, and is changing all the time anyway.
How dare you think that you have any idea what’s going on?
I’m grateful to actually feel lost once in a while, instead of merely knowing conceptually that I am. It’s all well and good to know enough to know that I know nothing, but it’s helpful to be slapped in the face once in a while with something that I definitely know nothing about to reinforce that point. I am feeling my way through the dark, I have no idea where I am or where I’m going, and I have to be okay with that.
I have to navigate by what I can imagine.
Bit by bit, piece by piece, try to articulate that which can never be completely conceived.
I have to accept that my world will never fit within the bounds of what I can imagine, and that to wish it would would be to wish the eradication of surprise, of happy accident and tragedy, of wonder and fear, infinity and the void. So I will feel my way through, shape the words in my mind’s diary, shape the reaction in my simulated reality, and shape my path through the irregular folds of two fingerprints, pressed against one another, that forms a labyrinth unique to the two people who have formed it.