Translation Games text

What We Made

I once knew a boxer who regularly needed to punch someone in the face to feel relaxed and right about his place in the world. I’m not like that: I don’t need to punch people in the face to feel good about and within myself. My temperament is nearly his opposite. I confront the world through stillness; I contort my limbs into postures that resemble plants and animals, I worship the sun.

He and I conceived, but what emerged was less a presence than an absence. At first, there was the mere sliver of a form; hardly anything at all, we thought, or at least nothing noteworthy. Thriving on our neglect, it evolved, expanded and developed its own traits. It had a tone, a texture and a flavor, which was bittersweet.

First it enveloped, and then it replaced, us. We suffocated, atomized, and reverted to “me” and “him.” When we recognized what it had done, we each responded in our characteristic ways. He pummeled it with swift, staccato jabs of his fists, seeking to control it, to force it into submission. But there was nothing to defeat, and no clear path to victory. I twisted and turned about, observing it from different angles, hoping to achieve a point of view that would help me better understand it. But it defied reason, as well. What we made was so vast, that, finally, there was nothing more for us to do but face each other across the widening gulf and wave “goodbye.”

 

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