Tangibility of Happiness
By J. L. Thurston
He always notices. No one else does. Those buttery eyes, like velvet embraces when they glance upon you. How is it possible for eyes to hold the universe? He can’t be human. He’s a man who moves with wings upon his shoulders, his feet just above the dirty ground, never soiled by the earth. And he always notices you.
He sees the way you tripped, makes a joke. It’s not malicious. It’s funny. You try to joke back, but a jumble of consonants falls from your lips and clatters to the floor like metal bars. He smiles. It’s like he knows you’re trying your best.
Ten minutes later you think of a funny quip that could have spared your confidence. Why does he have to notice?
You dream of him. The feeling of the dream carries into real life. Now you see him differently. The dreaming emotions cascade into the pool of heat that has been rising over time. Now his presence brings a different intensity.
You feel a physical push to be near him. When situations fail to produce him, they fall flat into the Land of Boredom. Food is flavorless, water is like sand, running brings no release, sleep carries only more dreams of the way his eyes crinkle, the mole on his neck, the chipped fingernails, the way he pulls his hands through his hair.
Torment, illness. That’s what this feeling is. It is the need for nourishment of the soul with no satisfaction. Every paper your pen touches becomes a tribute to his name. You touch that spot on your thumb that he touched in a passing gesture.
You see him in your peripheral, even when he’s not there. Glimpses of him around the corners, his voice in the crowd when you know he’s miles away.
You have to speak to him. You have to feel the weight of his hand around yours. You will die without knowing the electricity of his skin, the satin of his lips, the feathers in his hair.
You speak. He listens. He hears the words, weighing them all. It makes it hard to form coherent thoughts, knowing every sound is dissected with the precision of a dedicated biologist. It makes the backs of your knees weak, but you love it.
He responds and you have to find ways to focus. Don’t watch the way his lips move around his teeth, the motion of his tongue. Don’t admire the expression of his eyebrows. Hear the words.
And conversation blossoms. A spring of information rushes upwards into the mind, and the well of words, once dried by the arid desert of anxiety, now fills and refreshes the world around you. Mundane things become magical. Television shows, movies, books, holidays, family, pets. The volley, the back and forth, is almost like a kiss of the souls.
Sharing laughter, listening to two tones resonating together. Enjoying the feel of it so much you find ways to make it happen more and more.
Food is tasteless compared to the nutrition his ideas give you. Water is empty because he washes over you all the way down to your soul. You cannot sleep because the dreams aren’t enough. You keep him close on the phone, and when one of you sleeps the other is still looking at photos and videos. Sleep is a thing for the still, not for the hummingbird heart you keep inside you.
And the dance of your love encircles everything there ever was until you and he are all that the world could possibly contain. The molten core of the earth is nothing compared to the million suns that fill your pores with unending joy.
Together. You are one. The empty half of you like a nightmare his kisses have made you forget ever existed. Is happiness a tangible thing? Yes. You can wake up with it in the morning and eat breakfast with it. You do laundry with it and take it outside with you. When you fall asleep, its arms embrace you and are still there when the sun rises.
Happiness isn’t this mysterious shadow that lurks in the pages of stories and is forced on display in the movies. It is a man who walks the house in underwear singing broken pieces of lyrics. It is his energy as he asks you where his keys are. It is the simple everyday moments that form a complex tapestry of wonder for you to admire. Happiness isn’t a feeling, it is the him within you.
Note from the author: All artwork for this piece is by the talent of Chicago Skyline Art.