I didn't remember making a date with Gradient. I didn't even remember him. My conscious mind still doesn't, but there's a resonance, a familiarity to him. Is this what Drama meant by coming home?

We went to Lafayette Cemetary with paintbrushes to clear ancient dirt and dried bits of leaves from the headstone. He said we had done it before--that I had invited him last time. Kneeling on the cold ground, shivering against the bursts of wind my hoodie couldn't keep away, felt as rehearsed as a ballet routine. Slow, careful passes of the brush across long-forgotten names was a muscle memory.

Gradient and I didn't speak as we worked. Talking would disrespect the ghosts that watched. The silence was comfortable, my arm brushing his, his leg warm against the side of mine. My fingers quickly became too cold to feel the brush handle, but I didn't want to stop.

He asked me why I made the date last time, and I remember just one thing: I'm afraid of being forgotten. All of the quiet ghosts watch visitors pass by their fading stone faces, sorrowful that few remember their names, know their history. By cleaning them, we told them that we are here, we remember.

Later, in texts, Gradient and I discussed the nature of what we are. He calls himself Nothingness. I called myself water, skin, bone. But the physical is just the clothing around the soul. He asked what a soul felt like. I told him about the songs mine sings, the raw want, lust, rage, fear, in its voice. I told him about the hands that reach under the clothing to claw open wounds and slide dirty fingers bloodily in and out, and how they make the soul dim.

He sat with me on the floor before I went to sleep. He was soft for me, and I fell asleep leaning my head on his shoulder.

I promised I'd tell him about my dreams. All I remember is that there were a lot of people. That may have been from waking up with every unfamiliar voice, every crack in the floorboards. I saw Drama, the ghost in the hall, before I closed my eyes for the last time. I want to help him. I don't understand how to.

I'll have to leave soon. Gradient says I'll fade like a dream. But I'll return when I can afford to move in. I want to remember. I want to learn the story.

I hope I remember our date.

Comment