Instead of before, instead of me in motion while you in motion, yet slowed, slower—we are both stopped. You in the world that is your car—myself admiring your world as if through a telescope, as if I'm looking through all of the other what's-lefts, as if I am looking past them. It is hot so your windows are up—you are encased in glass like a sad flower, like you are closing your eyes so that the sheep will not see you. Your stereo is on—you are singing along the words to a song that I do not know, a song that I will never know. You could be singing in French. You could not be singing at all, but instead just opening your mouth and then closing it, practicing how your lips form letters, form vowels. You said my name once, before you knew it was my name. You knew the weight it carried, the touch of the tongue to the roof of your mouth briefly, pausing for a second before forcing the hot air out. Before anyone asks, you are the flower. You told me that there were people here: six, seven of them in existence—that there are no roots, that the wind blows them away. Today, when we are in our worlds that are not spinning, the wind has blown everyone else to here, to where we are. Perhaps you are silently counting them in your car: there are three in front of you—four must leave this place so that you are allowed in, so that you can move again, that there isn't much time to remember what the word 'orbit' means, that perhaps that is the word you are saying over and over again behind glass: that the pushing together of lips and explosion outwards reminds you of something—a name you once knew, the death of a star. I could leave this world but I would have to break the glass. If I could, I would ask you if you remembered the time I drove you home after you had too little water in too long of a time. I would talk about a world where I drove you home after you had too little water in too long of a time. About a world where you knew my name. About a world where you told me about the other. I would start to tell you these things, but I would stop: everything that I am telling you is a lie.
Brian Oliu is originally from New Jersey and currently lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. His work has been published/is forthcoming in Hotel Amerika, Sonora Review, Ninth Letter, New Ohio Review, Hobart, Brevity, and elsewhere. This piece is part of a series of Craigslist Missed Connections based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.