He keeps stopping to pick up rocks, examining them, and then either touching them back or stuffing them in his sweatshirt pocket, which is starting to sag with the weight. I stand by when he does this, wanting to ask what he’s searching for. Wanting to ask why he followed me. Wanting to ask about the telescope and if he can see the stars during the daytime. Wanting to ask where he’s from and what his name is and if he surfs and how old he is and what school he’s going to next fall. A few times I try to form a question so it sounds causal and normal, but each time the words get caught somewhere in my throat and never make it out. Finally, I give up and take out my invisible brushes and just start painting in my head. That’s when it occurs to me that maybe the rocks are weighing him down so he doesn’t rise into the air…
We walk and walk through the gray ashy dusk ans the forest starts to fall asleep. The trees lie down side by side, the creek halts, the plants sink back into the earth, the animals switch places with their shadows, and then , so do we.
When we break out of the woods onto our road, he spins around. “Holy hella shit! That’s the longest I`ve gone without talking. Like in my life! It was like holding my breath! I was having a contest with myself. Are you always like this?”
“Like what?” I say, my voice hoarse.
“Dude!” he cries, “Do you know those are the first words you’ve said?” I didn’t. “Man, You’re like the Buddha or something. My mom’s a Buddhist. She goes to these silent retreats. She should just hang out with you instead. Oh, oh, not counting, of course, ‘I`m a bloody artist, a bloody mess, mate;” He says this last part with a heavy English accent, then cracks up.
He heard me! Talking to the trees! So much blood’s rushing and gushing to my head it might blow straight off my neck. All the silence of out walk is gurgling madly out of him now and I can tell he is someone who laughs a lot, the way it;s taking him over so easily and lighting him all up, and even though he’s laughing at me, it’s making me feel okay, accepted, and making me feel a little bubble- headed as laughter starts to fizz up in me too. I mean, it was supremely funny,me yammering away in an English accent all alone like that, and then he says it again, his accent super- thick, “I`ma bloody artist,” and then I say, “A bloody mess mate,” and something gives way and I`m laughing outright and he says it again, and I do, and then we’re both really laughing, then the doubled- over kind, and it’s ages before we calm down, because each time one of us does, the other says, “`m a bloody mess, mate,” and the whole thing starts all over again.
When we finally get it back together, I realize I have no idea what just happened to me. Nothing like this has ever happened before. I feel like I just flew or something.
He points to my pad. “So I guess you just talk in there, is that it?”
“Pretty much,” I say. We’re under a streetlamp and I`m trying not to stare but it’s hard. I wish the world would stick like a clock so I could look at him for as long as I want. There’s something going on in his face right now, something very bright trying to get out- a dam keeping back a wall of light. His soul might be a sun. I`ve never met anyone who had the sun for a soul.
– Page 88-89-90.
I`ll give you the sun, Jandy Nelson
Jandy Nelson talking about her book.