I sleep with my back to the window, facing the door. When I awake, the first frame of vision holds a wall and another protruding from. There are four Scotch taped photographs that align into a square:
–Me with my dad before the Homecoming dance.
–Seventeen in Paris with my best friend. Pausing on the sidewalk. Snowflakes sprinkled on our hair & coats. One arm tossed up in elation.
–The swimming pool at my grandfather’s house. A little version of my brother perched on the rail. Pops standing in the shallow end, holding a baby me.
–My first day mentoring at the elementary school, only seconds after meeting Maxim. The strange poses : his shoulders firm against the wall, head tilted slightly downward, eyes up, lips in form but neither smile nor frown. Me, hunched, at his height. Visitor nametag. Cheesy grin. Long dark hair brushing his blue shirt. As the camera flashed, I was told he speaks only Russian.
We spent the next year inventing our own language. Throwing flashcards and fighting in the hallway. Fusing things.
Trying to listen. Trying to speak.
See that thing you know but see it like this. See this square of the world and follow. See now imagine. Imagine now see.
A flower of life—sunlight peeking through petals, branches.
We remember the angle, not the thing. The patterns and arrangement.
The reflection of shapes on shapes.