A fading summer, chilly against my skin. Once again, the summer greets me with its sweet hibiscus seduction. The melody of a violin, of birds floating along checkered rooftops, I meet you where this earth meets the sky. Sinful desires embroider the early June air as our lives intersect as if for the very first time, so filled with conviction despite death looming in the distance. I think this is what I saw in my dreams all those years ago, before I had a body to call my own: this breezy violet night by the water, with nothing to warm us but a gentle bonfire and the heat of your cheeks as you laugh at my occasional remarks. Hot flesh over flesh, I explore your horizons. Smooth like the ocean and ripe with decaying memories, you lull me to sleep in your embrace. I no longer crave warmth from without.
Death Valley National Park
What if I told you that this one life isn’t enough? That we will find each other again and again in the lifetimes to come. And that this story doesn’t begin with life or end with death — but will carry itself along the thread of eternity. What if I told you that our moments of delight are just a shared conviction away? That all it takes is a desire, a will to become.
What would you do then? Would you let this slip out of your fingertips? Would you let this become a memory that you inhabit every now and then, the way we do the dilapidated photos of old lovers, gathering dust and phantoms? I don’t know how to tell you that there is more to this than what we can understand. That there is a part of you and I that transcends our physical forms. That there are things that our bodies remember, perhaps because they are coded within our DNA, or because of a mysterious thread of ancestral memory that we carry despite limitations in scientific knowledge.
I don’t know how to tell you that this can’t be our first time. Will you let it be our last?
Phantom Ship Overlook, Crater Lake National Park
I have dreamt about this moment for so long — these moments with you. I never imagined that they would feel so lonely.
When promises become mirages and time gets in the way of it all, I revisit the moments in which we had found eternity. That hazy, late summer drive back home from Southern Oregon, Novo Amor playing in the background as the redwoods drenched themselves in the coastal fog, you asked me if I wanted to risk it all to get away with you. And on my doorstep, you let me know that it was my last chance.
I’d dreamed about our sweet escape since the time before I was born, but I said no. I chose our goodbye instead. What is the allure of the sweet escape? There is a greater joy in being able to call a place home.
Walupt Creek Falls, Gifford Pinchot National Forest
They say if it is love that you are after, its magnitude does not erode under the inevitability of loss. And yet I find myself in the Southern California desert, desecrated in its wake. I wonder how love can be so cruel, how it arrives quietly, only to tease me with invincibility before vanishing entirely. And then June comes, teaching me that the story does not end in the Ben & Jerry's in Fremont, with my best friends comforting me over a pint of ice cream.
June is the month of peaches, their pulps sweet like candy. It is the month of warmth, delight and poetry. In June, I take off to the Pacific Northwest and had the privilege of photographing my favorite photographer. I drive 214 miles in a day in the pursuit of beauty. I take a lot of photos in my new camera, gifted to me by somebody I cherish — and I find myself dancing to the realization that my invincibility does not hinge on another. We don’t have to wait for a lover or a friend to accompany us on the journey of our dreams. Sometimes, the shattering of a fantasy is a reminder that we were dreaming too small.
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