Breath of Dali

I don’t have much. It’s pretty apparent as I walk around my new digs. Everything is unboxed. Furniture is staged. Everything is tentatively where it should be, and I mean everything. Everything seems like it is subject to change right now.

Last night, I sat on my floor and stamped wax seals to Christmas letters for the better part of an hour. I needed a project. I needed a distraction. Dali chats away on the other end of the telephone call, detailing her high school misadventures. She’s sweet. She’s also way out of my league, but I try not to mention that. I’d hate to tip her off.

“I need to get out and do more. I like music. I like going out too eat,” she says, “but it just messes with my anxiety.”

“I go out to a music venue almost every week here. I always initially dread the fact that I bought a ticket, and I always am grateful that I did once it’s done,” I reply. “I get that. It’s a hard thing to balance.”

Dali is a bit of an enigma to me. She is one part free thinking independent woman, one part modest mouse, and one part sultry bohemian. Top it off with faded purple hair and pescatarian dietary preferences and that’s Dali. Think Ramona Flowers from Scott Pilgrim vs. The Word. We speak frankly to one another about life, and even when things verge into more sensitive realms, she addresses it with the same blase faire tone as one might use to dictate the contents on the back of a shampoo bottle.

It’s not a relationship. I don’t know if I even want a relationship in general. Neither does she. Neither of us seem to know what we are looking for out of anything right now. Both of our lives are in flux, and we are are in survival mode for the most part, weathering the storm until we regain some sense of respective normalcy.

“Your dinner looks so much better than mine,” she says.

“What did you eat?”

“Spaghetti O’s,” she remarks despondently.

“Sometimes a girl has gotta have her O’s.”

Our conversations are a virtual laundry list of items to be addressed briefly then abruptly departed from without warning. Example:

Dali: I want to kiss you on New Years

Ghost: Oh, really now?

Dali: Yeah.

Dali: What should I watch on Netflix?

Focus doesn’t seem to be Dali’s strong suit, but it doesn’t need to be in my opinion. It keeps her adventurous and strange (in a good way). We have only recently upgraded to phone calls, but there is already a rapport that both of us have nestled into comfortably. It’s special to me in a way; its simple. She wears her heart on her sleeve, despite a devil-may-care appearance.

Things are finally sinking in for me. The reality that I’m actually alone now has settled into its place at the back of my mind, birthing neither pride nor anxiety. It just exists. I just exist, and somewhere out in the wilds of Kentucky, Dali exists as well.

We are laughing ourselves sick as we both turn down for bed. It’s late, and we chatter excitedly with the enthusiasm only found between two people with a lot to say and very little to do. We share a sigh, and I embarrass myself by dispensing some compliments her way. The two of us say goodnight and hang up.

My phone buzzes, alerting me to a text.

“I heard your smile, and I couldn’t breathe.”

I don’t have much. My time is short. My resources are few, and my finances are slim.

I don’t have much, but I caught the breathe of Dali. I do have that.

Today, that is all I need.

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