By Ted Hayes.
You find yourself at some kind of a party. Glances parlayed, pushing through crowds in slow motion in search of someone, looking for her, knowing that time is running out. Everyone is wearing masks and costumes. You tap someone on the shoulder and it’s not who you thought it was. This is zeitverlust. The night is at a standstill, it’s reeling in all directions, you know it has to end, but there’s no telling when.
You are at a threshold of vergeance only when you are ignorant of your position in time. It is in this threshold where love occurs, where it happens, not an event but a giant watercolor wash of non-event. Zeitverlust sets in, the night is in endless repetition, incongruous loops of stepping into rooms, breathing through smoke, looking for two eyes you are (will be) intimately familiar with (in the future), knowing that what happens in the next few hours is what happened two hours ago, zeitverlust. You tremble inside it, it is a vibration of time. Complete reciprocity and a queer kind of symmetry, the kind that is symmetrical only when disjointed. But you’re moving through it, it’s a space with no fourth dimension. Time has been replaced with a loss of time. Now and then (which is also now) you catch a glimpse of her, she just went into that room. That room is the beginning of the house, you enter onto a vast and elaborate baroque stairway that curves down on both sides, it overlooks the entire hall, packed with shimmering partygoers. You look for the dress you know she’s wearing, but you can’t see it because everyone’s wearing it. You descend, but you can’t remember the act of stepping on marble stairs trimmed with copper. You know you are breathing but you can’t remember having tasted the air. The house is already inside your head. Are you traveling in it or is it traveling in you? It is a completely circuitous place, full of dreams, full of you and I, full of SHE, HER, the most impersonal personal pronoun in the English language. You know you were talking to people in this house, you know you laughed with them and patted them on the back and shook hands with them, but you can’t remember any of it. There are no faces, nobody has any faces.
They are not wearing masks for this reason, because there are no faces to hold them up. You assume they must be standing, but can’t remember any feet, except for one specific pair. She is the only person there, you realize, among those throngs, pushing through crowds, sighing and laughing and shaking hands and patting backs. You know her face, or you assume you do. You only ever see her back turned to you, because you are following her. She never turns around, or if she does, it’s only when you happened to be turning around because an acquaintance of years ago just greeted you. And when you turn back, anxiously, you notice she was doing the same and is now on her way into the next room.
You cleverly cut into a different room, aiming to cut her off, anticipating her direction. You step over gravel and tile and stone. The moon is constantly full. When you go outside the voices take on the unmistakable shroud of being inside when you are out. You call out for her and hear, suddenly and gut-wrenchingly, her voice. It’s as if you’ve never heard it before yet you’ve been hearing it all your life. Her shoes are the ones you’ve been tying all your life. You see her at the bottom of the pond, but when you reach out to kiss her the ripples destroy you both.