An unwatched television tuned to a sporting event; its volume barely audible. Whispers uttered with the determined cadence of words that know their destination. I sit quietly waiting to be born into a life that would allow me to speak a more common language.

I look out through the window onto my balcony, its grey dirty floor sprinkled with dried fallen petals. The thud and clatter of the elevator along with the desperate yelps of a lonely dog send my heart racing and my body shaking. The tears that stream from my eyes tickle my cheeks and the droplets catch in my beard.

An indoor solitude is the only option today. All that remains to be seen is whether I can live it with sanity.

The gift of his drowsy languor was a softening of his thoughts and heart. An expansiveness that was so vulnerable; that, paradoxically, it wished to protect itself from a world that so often misunderstood such expansions. He loved his friend. They were so very different and yet—when it came to deeper matters of body and soul—so very alike. He had never before realized that he had developed an inner clock; one that was synchronized to their connection. And once a week, the day before their time together, he heard its tick.

At other times awareness of his interdependence made him quiver with fear. He decided to stay with the beautiful truth of it that morning: a grounded longing. A desire for time and connection. For easy understanding. He longed for things simple and pure and true. He smiled. No, he chuckled at himself. For a moment he realized the silliness of his reverie. He realized that all if it could have been reduced to something so simple: I miss my friend and I look forward to seeing them.

The rattle of loose metal from the bed of a pick-up cuts through the cool dry air. The sticky rubber rolls quickly over asphalt and creates a low hum. Palm tree fronds sway and brush against one another in the wind. Masked people walk the pavement below. In the background, fading green mountains with bare patches, like skin, sinfully peeking through the foliage.

I remain still. I watch and listen and feel. My hunger for skin has heightened my senses—made a lover of all that surrounds me.

The solitude held him together—gently bearing and balancing the weight of flesh and bone and mind and soul. Silence, he thought to himself, changes its tone from one moment to the next, it is, like love, never a static thing.

Sitting, staring out of the window, he realized that he was less interested than he once was in seeking answers to questions that belonged to the realm of mystery. He craved paradox and prayed for the strength to take up residence there.

He heard his belly grumble. He looked up at the lamps—glowing orbs in his tiny borrowed palace. He was hungry but did not crave. He longed for touch while grateful for solitude. He wished to belong and to remain apart. He resisted the temptation to resolve these contradictions. That, he thought, would be too easy—a dull psychological exercise. He chose, instead, to follow the wisdom of his belly and prepare lunch.

Little boy, it is so easy for you to feel unloved. I see you watching the faces, scanning the world with those sad brown eyes. Little boy, I see you are already learning to hold back your heart so that it won’t get broken again. It is already so big. Little boy, I see you hide yourself away, secretly hoping you will be found. Little boy, I see your arms getting stronger so that you may hold tightly to the love you hope will come. Look here. Look in my direction. The love is right here. My strong arms were also made for loving embraces. My heart is also big—big enough to hold both of us.

I am an animal—as ready to snarl as I am ready to whimper, tail between legs, in the shadows. Longing for a cage. A container. If I lower my guard I will be eaten, beaten, injured. I restlessly and vigilantly smell, listen, watch. Hiding. Alone.

Have the things around me betrayed me or I them? I look through my window–the mountains blanketed by the morning light. I beg them to touch me. Nothing. I feel like a jilted lover. I turn to the digital world–my cold, but placating, mistress. Endless movie menus and news sites and….nothing. Twenty minutes have passed and I have been scrolling without looking. Restlessness. Fear. Panic. Indecision. I picture myself lifting weights. I picture myself walking. My body goes limp. It rejects me as well. So I turn to this…which amounts to….what?

A scream from an unreachable place. A shout. A plea to the universe or god or something/someone for help. And it is not fame or riches for which I pray. I ask for a return to myself. To that imperfect, unexciting but soulful place.

Sacred acts disfigured. Ocular opiates made of 1’s and 0’s. An economy of digital skin. A desperate grasp for intimacy. Unlimited choices in lieu of sensuality and vulnerability. A quixotic hunt for the one. A distorted sense of freedom and control. The find. Grey robotic tugs. The splash. The clean up. A soulful longing cheapened. A leadened heart. Emptiness.