Every Day Page 47

“Go get some pills,” he says when we break apart.

I hope my mom has some extra birth control I can slip him.

We have been to an ocean together, and a forest. So today I decide we should go to a mountain.

A quick search shows me the nearest place to climb. I have no idea if Rhiannon’s ever been there, but I’m not sure that matters.

She’s not really dressed for hiking—her Converse don’t have a whole lot of tread left on them. I plunge forward nonetheless, taking a water bottle and a phone with me, and leaving everything else in the car.

Again it’s a Monday, and the trails are largely clear. Every now and then I’ll pass another hiker on his or her way down, and we’ll nod or say hello, in the way that people surrounded by acres of silence do. The paths are haphazardly marked, or perhaps I’m just not attentive enough. I can feel the incline as it’s measured by Rhiannon’s leg muscles, can feel her breath shift into more challenging air. I keep going.

For our afternoon, I’ve decided to attempt to give Rhiannon the satisfaction of being fully alone. Not the lethargy of lying on the couch or the dull monotony of drifting off in math class. Not the midnight wandering in a sleeping house or the pain of being left in a room after the door has been slammed shut. This alone is not a variation of any of those. This alone is its own being. Feeling the body, but not using it to sidetrack the mind. Moving with purpose, but not in a rush. Conversing not with the person next to you, but with all of the elements. Sweating and aching and climbing and making sure not to slip, not to fall, not to get too lost, but lost enough.

And at the end, the pause. At the top, the view. Grappling with the last steep incline, the final turns of the path, and finding yourself above it all. It’s not that there’s a spectacular view. It’s not that we’ve reached the peak of Everest. But here we are, at the highest point the eye can see, not counting the clouds, the air, the lazy sun. I am eleven again; we are atop that tree. The air feels cleaner because when the world is below us, we allow ourselves to breathe fully. When no one else is around, we open ourselves to the quieter astonishments that enormity can offer.

Remember this, I implore Rhiannon as I look out over the trees, as I catch her breath. Remember this sensation. Remember that we were here.

I sit down on a rock and drink some water. I know I am in her body, but it feels very much like she is here with me. Like we are two separate people, together, sharing this.

I have dinner with her parents. When they ask me what I did today, I tell them. I’m sure I tell them more than Rhiannon would, more than the day usually allows.

“That sounds wonderful,” her mother says.

“Just be careful out there,” her father adds. Then he changes the conversation to something that happened at work, and my day, briefly registered, becomes solely my own again.

I do her homework as best I can. I don’t check her email, afraid that there will be something there that she wouldn’t want me to see. I don’t check my own email, because she’s the only person I’d want to hear from. There’s a book on her night table, but I don’t read it, for fear that she won’t remember what I’ve read, and will have to read it again anyway. I thumb through some magazines.

Finally, I decide to leave her a note. It’s the only way she’ll know for sure that I’ve been here. Another palpable temptation is to pretend that none of this has happened, to deny any accusation she makes based on whatever remnant of memory remains. But I want to be truthful. The only way this will work is if we are entirely truthful.

So I tell her. At the very beginning of my letter, I ask her to try to remember the day as much as possible before she reads on, so what I write won’t taint what’s really left in her mind. I explain that I never would have chosen to be in her body, that it isn’t something I have control over. I tell her I tried to respect her day as much as I knew how, and that I hope not to have caused any disruption in her life. Then, in her own handwriting, I map out our day for her. It is the first time I’ve ever written to the person whose life I’ve occupied, and it feels both strange and comfortable, knowing that Rhiannon will be the reader of these words. There are so many explanations I can leave unsaid. The fact that I am writing the letter at all is an expression of faith—faith both in her and in the belief that trust can lead to trust, and truth can lead to truth.

This is how it feels as her eyelids close.

This is how sleep will taste to her.

This is how night touches her skin.

This is how the house noises sing her to bed.

This is the goodbye she feels every night. This is how her day ends.

I curl up in bed, still wearing my clothes. Now that the day is almost done, the world of glass recedes, the butterfly threat diminishes. I imagine that we’re both here in this bed, that my invisible body is nestled against hers. We are breathing at the same pace, our chests rising and falling in unison. We have no need to whisper, because at this distance, all we need is thought. Our eyes close at the same time. We feel the same sheets against us, the same night. Our breath slows together. We split into different versions of the same dream. Sleep takes us at the exact same time.

Day 6016


I think I remember everything. Where are you today? Instead of writing a long email, I want to talk.


I am roughly two hours away from her when I read this email, in the body of a boy named Dylan Cooper. He’s a hardcore design geek, and his room is an orchard of Apple products. I access him enough to know that when he really, really likes a girl, he creates a font and names it after her.

Source: www_Novel22_Net

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