Who Are You, Strange Partner Who Might Not Exist?

When I jump, turn around, and see no one
Even though I had felt something
Almost like someone tapping on my shoulder
But more concentrated, like a beam of heat
Or a mind that sizzled into a spot right behind me
What is going on?
Who was there?

I mean… maybe it was no one except my own fears and wishes
Muddied together into some kind of craziness.
I feel terror. I feel this exotic, shining red excitement too.
I turn, knowing someone is there
And in fact, the space behind me is always empty.

When this happens, there’s never a crowd of people
Or even a lone stranger several yards back.
It’s empty. There’s no one. And I don’t have that feeling anymore
Because somehow turning around
And seeing nothing
Blasts the whole someone-is-here-for-me impression
Into some kind of empty space
A space that doesn’t matter.

It’s strange because there’s always no one
Absolutely always
When I turn to meet that strange partner
Even though I live in a crowded area
And usually people are all around.

Weirdly, this gives me the idea that I really was sensing someone
You know, a real someone
And not just something my mind cooked up
Even though, at a certain point
It’s hard to say what the difference even is
Between a cooked-up someone
And a real, actual someone
Who exists like that guy who slammed into me tonight
A very real slamming that knocked my wallet out of my hands
And almost made me scream.
Maybe I imagined the whole scene.
It’s not like anyone I knew saw it.
No one can verify it for me
And even if they could
Maybe I’m imagining them as they laugh and pat my back
And say: “Yes! Of course! I was there. Someone slammed into you. He was a jackass.”

But seriously… when I turn around, almost always, someone is there
Students on the way to class. Tourists heading out for dinner.
Except when I sense my particular Someone
The Someone who is there for me
And not just in addition to me.
And then there’s no one
Which almost makes me think that, somehow
A capital “S” Someone is making itself known to me at that time.

And what do I mean by a capital “S” Someone?
I mean… “capital ‘S’ someone” is such a crazy concept.
Does it suggest that most people are small “s” someones?
Can a person be small “s” sometimes but, every once in a while
Break the barrier to capital “S” importance?
Or does capital “S”-hood suggest something completely different from a person
Like some completely different kind of being
Or mind
Or consciousness
Or even something that encompasses all minds and consciousnesses?

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Hey! Maybe that’s why I see nothing.
Maybe it’s, like, the everything-and-nothing-rolled-into-one paradox.
“What is the everything-and-nothing-rolled-into-one paradox?” you ask.
I have no idea: it’s just a thought I had once
When I had that feeling of enormous Someone-ness
Someone behind me, around me, seeping into me
And then, when I looked, I found no one.
I was like “This is a paradox”
And I made myself laugh
And then I thought:
Maybe the energy that’s making me laugh
Is actually the everything part of this paradox
Or maybe it’s even the nothing part
Since in a way that would be funnier.

Here’s the problem, maybe:
When I turn and find nothing
I’m more relieved than disappointed
If I’m going to be completely honest.
So maybe I don’t want there to be something.
Maybe I can’t take the something I’d experience
If I experienced anything at all.
Maybe that split-second sense of something-ness
Is all I can handle right now
Of a thing that does exist
But somewhere beyond the grasp I’ve chosen to cultivate.

Thing is, I can’t handle not having this something either.
I’m throbbing from the lack of capital “S” Something
Which is different from nothing
In the simplest sense that most of us know.

One day, I hope, I’ll be ready.
I’ll turn around and say hello to Something, Someone
That’s right: say hello. Greet. Face.
And slide into whatever might come next
Like slipping through a crack in the air
Or some other kind of atmosphere.

A thought keeps pounding at me:
“Then I’ll be done.”
And I don’t want to be done with whatever is being suggested
So, maybe, now is my time to wait, wonder
And hope for more
Since hoping for more
Is the opposite of being done
And I think the opposite of being done
Is my mission.


Image Credit: Joshua Fuller on Unsplash.com