A Northwest Based Literary Journal

Excerpt: Nonfiction

I Do

Chris Campanioni

Not know why I thought it was a good idea to catalog this.

I do not know if anything I do is actually a good idea, or at least that’s not the prerequisite I use to move from gesture to act. Ideas haven’t stopped me before, so I figured: I should go on because I’ve always gone on, and why stop now?

The truth is I’m afraid. That’s the one thing every writer has in common: fear. If we’re lucky, there’s also fearlessness but a special kind that doesn’t negate or ignore or even prevent fear. The truth is, we need fear too.

And I also need to remember things just the way they are, that is: not the way they were. Even as I’m cataloging this, taking stock, making notes and letting the details sing—the smell of roasted beans, the sound of their slow drip, the barren branches shaking outside both windows—I’m already forgetting something, forgetting it or forging it or both, allowing my fantasy to overtake the facts.

I set out to record the day I propose to my girlfriend because I’m selfish. I want to live it like it was today, tomorrow, and the next day, and the next… until someone else can remember it (that’s you); a stranger in a strange land, maybe. Wherever they offer books in the future.

Maybe that’s where the fear comes in, too. The future, the past, the passing. If I catalog this I’ll always remember it until I won’t. My skin is hot and my neck is wet and so is my brow and the bottom of my back, the small part, the part you can slide your hand over if you were holding me by the waist. I’m naked and I’m sweating, and it’s a quarter to seven in the morning. My Nike running sneakers are piled, one on top of one, blocking the entrance to my apartment. If you opened the door right now, you’d find me naked, but then again, you’d also have trouble opening the door. You’d have to swing hard; you’d have to really put your back into it.

The black shoes with the neon green trimming. The wood floor. The hanging red Chinese lanterns over the black granite countertop. And two thighs visible when I pause to peer down at myself.

 

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