John: I’m a bit late.

Gradient: Hola. I don’t mind. You’re here.

J: So are you.

G: Si. I knew you would be here and so here I am. It is getting dark.

J: I’m still a little off from the weekend.

G: You been out to the desert. That’s gonna make anybody off. You been out of time, too. You get distracted like that.

J: Bit like how a pizza feels, I should think. Tossed around and such.

G: Lol. Yeah, I guess so. Been a long time since I felt like a pizza, man, but I better knock on wood.

J: You ought to try being pregnant. Don’t they always feel like a pizza?

G: Lol, not that I know of but I wouldn’t be surprised.

J: I don’t suppose you surprise very easily.

G: Some days. Not by anything coming out of a pregnant woman’s mouth, no.

J: I’m very nervous. I’ve been joking to cover it.

G: You’re funny. You calm my nerves too, but not enough.


G: I like the silence between us.

J: It’s been a long time since it was only the two of us together.

G: Not so long, since after the new year. I thought I would find out if you wanna talk before we were alone together again, if we can use it as a euphemism.

J: You mean we could have been implementing a code when I was talking of pizza?

G: Lol yeah, if you want.

J: What should pizza mean in our code?

G: How about the ground covering a hallowed place?

J: I had found another word for that, once. Do you remember?

G: Non. Tell it to me.

J: Sillion.

G: Yeah, that’s the one.

J: Pizza’s more attractive, though, just in it’s music.

G: Smells better, too.

J: I suppose I have felt like that.

G: I wanted to say something but with the pizza code now I can’t.

J: People will think you’re mad or mocking me, I’m sure.

G: Si, si. I wanted to say your skin is the covering over a hallowed place, but that is the same as calling you a pizza face, now.

J: You mean I’ve got spots. You might’ve left that off of where all can see.

G: Lol, that’s not what I meant! I was trying to say it is holy to bury secrets in you, that you are the keeper of one of mine, that I love you. But there is only pizza now.

J: I could tell you a secret.

G: Alright.

J: I watched you sleep last night.

G: Why you do that?

J: So I could tell you how you look in your sleep. Also, I believe people are afraid of what comes and goes into their rooms. I could also assure you it was only me and a brown spider.

G: Gracias. I’m not afraid of intruders, I got protection. But I do wanna know what I look like. I watch myself sometimes but it’s not the same.

J: You smile. Sometimes, you laugh as well.

G: I am a happy man.

J: I think you must be.

G: I never watch you. I keep my back against a wall between us. Me and the night be talking and pretend we don’t know you’re there.

J: That’s for the best. So I can tie your shoes together.

G: Nino, you don’t do no such thing.

J: No, I don’t really. But it is for the best.

G: It’s for love.

J: Are you alright?

G: Si.

J: Sometimes you talk about me and I don’t know what to say.

G: I never talked about you to you before, you don’t gotta say anything.

J: There’s a great deal of room behind you, where there is also plenty of night and cold air with our silences combed out neatly like the hair of a woman. When you are there and draw a line for me past which I wouldn’t cross, I could be a king and you wouldn’t know it was ever how I felt.

G: I smoke while I wait for you. You can smell it, I bet. I thought we would never speak of it like the secrets people talk about taking to the grave. Then I think it’s gotta be there already.

J: In the ground?

G: Yeah, where they gonna box up the woman with the long hair, the secret gets buried with her, verdad? Buried with your love.


G: Like I said, we don’t gotta talk about this. It’s alright if we never do.

J: I’m not nervous to talk with you, even about this. I’m nervous because I might fail to be able to. But part of me thinks we ought to. That if we were to, then we’d be lovers, and even properly. Do you think there are many conversations to be had with people which would end with you as lovers?

G: From never being lovers before that?

J: Yes.

G: Non. They are few.

J: Your French is much softer than your Spanish.

G: I don’t want you to feel pressure to become something with me you’re not ready to do.

J: You have taken my feelings very much to heart.

G: Si, I know you stopped this from happening already twice. It could be too much to be with me in a room with what we have done together and to talk and to have our silence get shredded away.

J: It wasn’t time, before.

G: I believe in your love. That is something I feel that I never said to you. You got love to give to the girls who gone away. I believe in that. That’s why I let you in. I could get fired, I could probably go to jail but I let you in anyway because I believe in it.

J: It is almost impossible to know what someone has died feels. For someone living. And so that means a great deal to me, to hear you say. I feel we… which is to say, you and I… have an understanding of what a soul might feel. You see much of their loneliness, and their fear, do you not?

G: Oui, the dead have slow hearts. They’re never ready to go without the body, even the ones who have made all their peace. A girl still wants to brush her hair and a woman still wants to have your jacket around her shoulders. They come to the roads sometimes asking where they been buried and can they see and where they mamas put their things. It goes on sometimes for months. They don’t wanna give up life but they don’t wanna haunt like they got some shit to do. A soul is bound to the memory of touch, verdad? They don’t wanna go without that even with whatever they find on the other side to love.

J: It’s a strange and plain kind of fire. One which has the ability to destroy as easily as any other kind of fire. Life, I mean. The things we meant to do. And how unforgiving is time. Do you believe in broken hearts?

G: Non, not the kind which cannot mend. Even the element heartbreak is volatile. It slips through the fingers. You ever made a little girl smile who was crying before? You can see it run away. It was there, not deniable, it was running down her cheeks and you never saw nothing so terrible as her little heart shatter, and then you make her smile and it’s like it was never damaged in the first place.

J: That’s what I think, as well. I don’t even believe one could run out of the time to try.

G: You would know, si?

J: I think you’re very beautiful. I think how you have seen me is a way I even struggle to see myself sometimes. Just that you have seen me at all. I think it is your eyes which I find beautiful.

G: To me, you are a saint. You are a lover above all lovers. I’m in awe of you. That you move past the line of alive and dead with your desire. I never said these things aloud before. My heartbeat knows it. I’m shaking too.

J: I can feel it, but it feels much lower, like it might be an earthquake.

G: I can hardly hear you. You talk like you think somebody in the next room is gonna hear us. I hear somebody out there too, but it’s like it’s the men I was before. I know I’m talking nonsense. It happens.

J: I don’t think it’s nonsense. I’m only quiet again this way because you’ve told me such a secret. Perhaps it’s drawn us away from the line of the night again. You’re in my open space where we can move freely now. Shall I tell you I love you here? Or would you like if I wait for someone else to hear?

G: Non, you can tell me here. I got you something the first night we went out together, and I buried it for the night when I could tell you these things. John, do you love me?

J: Yes, with all my heart. Do you love me?

G: Si. I fell in love with you before we ever spoke and I didn’t even know why I did. I want you desperately. I want your love.

J: I think I should be a ghost forever without you.

G: Do I draw your shape? I don’t know.

J: You could try. You could see if your body does.

G: I’m nothing. That does it with most people but you’re something other. You’re special. You’re almost nothing too.

J: You’ll have to kiss me to see.

G: I’ve been thinking about what you must taste like for months. I wanted to dig up the cards and give them to you and tell you I can’t stand it anymore and tell you if you can’t kiss me, I will kill myself for you and then maybe you do.

J: It was cards?

G: Si. I dug them up tonight before you texted me. They’re not special. Just Bicycle cards, they’re blue.

J: They’re the ones which you play while you wait.

G: Si. I learned how to shuffle with one hand and they’re wore pretty good. After the last time, you said it could be awhile until the next time and I got it in my head you meant no more. I thought I’d never get to give them to you.

J: I can’t speak.

G: I want you bad. You can tell me anything else you gotta say or not say in my room. I wanna see you.

J: I’ll come to you, of course. I love you.

G: I love you.