the humans that made me

i remember my dreams. every morning i wake up and the intricate scene replays in my mind – often violent, always interesting, and of course, completely, perfectly explainable. i feel compelled to preserve this sacred story somehow, and because it’s morning and i’m in bed, getting up to scrounge for a pen and paper is entirely unthinkable. and if i don’t eternalize it, you and i both know it will be gone before my first spoonful of cereal. so patrick has become the lucky retainer of dreams. he enjoys this honor, believe me. Man Dies of Boredom Listening to Girlfriend’s Dreams.

last night i dreamed that i went back to america. my family had planned a small reunion for me, invited my closest friends. but, when word got out that i was in town – yes, the anna geiserman – the reunion was no longer a few nicely dressed friends surrounding a large cheeseboard. there would be no nigel, there would be no brie. the reunion became a fully fledged rager: no room to walk or breathe, the house gets trashed, the cops are called.

in attendance was everyone i had ever known. neighbors, cousins, coworkers, classmates, acquaintances, loves. people i hadn’t spoken to or even thought of in years. my brother’s friend todd. a childhood pal from the neighborhood. the people i still think about every day. my mom. my dad.

adam weiss was standing on the dock, entertaining the kids with a magic trick. he hardly recognised me. greg elliot in the corner of the room, took a drink from his solo cup and smiled at a bad joke. steven oliveira, looking more confident than i had ever seen him. when michael rao and i found each other’s faces, we both burst into tears. someone caught it on camera. daniel clenzi and i walked arm in arm under the fairy lights in the backyard. blair chizner giggled. justin sheinbaum had changed his hair (but i missed the curls). my dad served the punch.

these people are a part of me. every one of them, big and small. they have taught me everything i know.

what would we be without the people around us? without a hand to hold, a smile returned. for someone who often dodges human interaction, it surprises me to learn that my every step, my every breath, is motivated by people. motivated by the charged, precious space between my skin and yours.

these crucial gaps, these canals, change shape and size every second. every unreturned call, every missed birthday, every laugh, every lunch. some of these canals have spread as wide as continents. some of them are unexpectedly separated by no more than an inch. how are you? it’s been too long. the gap shrinks. no, he and i haven’t kept in touch since i left. wider.

a continent, an inch. can you measure connection? how do you know if your relationship with your sister has improved? how do you know if your friendships are better this year than they were last year? because you still talk? because you flew across the world to see her? because you were there when i needed you?

what if we haven’t talked, what if we haven’t seen each other, what if we made mistakes?

what if we let ourselves drift towards the tangible, just so we can feel like we’re making progress, like we’re working towards something good? so we can at least see something and feel it in our hands: a promotion, a house, a savings account?

somehow i find myself drifting, even though i know you are more important. even though when i am dying, i will think of my mother, my father, my brothers, my partner, my children, the people i never got to know, the people i never tried to know, everyone who ever touched me, everyone who loved me wholly and everyone who forgave me fully. i will think about them, the humans that made me. if there is anything i know to be true, it’s this.

 

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