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Ten Miles

Chapter Text

Welcome back.

David focuses on the words, the now-familiar script in generic BIC blue pen. Firm, steady pressure forming an even and deliberate line of ink.

David recalls the spring his mother got into graphology and made everyone handwrite her letters instead of emails so she could secretly have them analyzed. Their long-time family physician had been fired when the missing tail loop on his ‘y’ revealed underlying psychopathic tendencies.

David had learned quickly to adapt his handwriting to fit the traits he wanted to possess. He drew flowy and proportional ‘y’ loops to signal a carefree and spontaneous spirit. His letters were round, no sharp points, to demonstrate his creative side. His words slanted just barely to the right as if to say I am open and caring and don’t dwell on the past. Most importantly, a firm, steady pen pressure. This meant he was considered, and confident in his words. It was obviously a load of crap.

Learning Patrick has been greatly aided by trail register subtext, immutable pen stroke aside. He’s snarky on these shared, confessional pages. And kind. Funny. Honest. He knows David is reading. So, David reads into it.

He sets off to analyze what Patrick is going for today.

Simple, no undertones: We were hiking, then we stopped. Now we are again. Welcome back.

Or maybe it’s a gesture of care. Acceptance? Encouragement that David is on the right path and that someone is waiting for him on the other end. To that effect, he is comforted. He’s missed their staggered pace, the mutual view, and, god, even their too-small tent. Welcome back to our little universe.

But perhaps an offer of security is mixed in there too, proof that Patrick is holding firm on their pact. That the last three days don't mean David has to change his mind about impermanence. No future talk, no forever. Welcome back to the status quo.

Welcome back implies a return to something familiar. But, he’s not sure if that applies anymore.

David’s never been anywhere, felt anything like this before.

 

*

 


Fish Lake, OR

A lot to catch up on. Our three days in Ashland were...well...I am in a huge amount of trouble with myself. Can this really be just a moment-in-time kind of thing? I should stop acting surprised by what I learn in your pages and stop using them as a hiding place too. My chic leather bound emotionally intelligent imaginary best friend. Stevie would be jealous.

We took the bus into town. Let me repeat that. I took the BUS. And I was just happy to sit down and to look out the window and to hold Patrick’s hand and have something else take me somewhere for once. The outside flew by at a speed I had forgotten was possible. Blurred beauty. Good name for a pop song but sad to witness. Why do we drive so fast? Missing the way there.

I took the first shower when we got to the motel which may have been the highlight of my month, and that includes the sex that we had after. Jk. I don’t know when we’ll have the chance to sleep together again so I kept my eyes open the whole time. He said I love you and I even looked at that.

On the way to dinner one night we stopped in a store that looked too similar to the one I toss around in my mind. It was like discovering I have an evil but more successful twin. Evil because they clearly do not know the difference between beige and ecru. Also because it was my idea first. I hoped coming out here would end that line of inquiry but the more time I have to mull it over the more I still want it. I don’t know why I’m writing this down. It’s not possible anyway. Plus Patrick scared me with all those logistics he brought up. Here’s a fun and terrifying thought...in some alternate universe I could have asked for his help with all this.

Then that song. Fucking hell. He knows better than I do what I want to hear. (He can never find this out!!) We must have been so transparent to everyone in that bar. I hate crying in public. I loved watching him up there.

Day three was too scandalous for the record. I almost drew a wink but who am I winking at. Myself? Anyway remembering that day won’t be an issue. Forgetting it may be. Yes I just rolled my eyes too.

Three hundred miles to go until the Bridge of Gods. As I’ve never been very good at genuine human emotion I will just tell you what I know: I believe him.

 

*

 

Welcome back.

David’s having none of that. He doesn’t want to go back.

The words wiggle out of his private pages into public space. Not for Patrick yet, but for whoever comes up the path next.

Not back. Forward. Welcome to this.

With a steady, firm pen pressure he writes. I don’t think this is a moment-in-time kind of thing.