the bearing

paired together, soft fluttering rain, two idle lovers, youme are really happy, we are really happy, we are really happy, happiness for real, all year we haven’t just let ourselves stroll like this through a perfectly strange place, yeah, her hands, a watermelon purchased on the spot of a moment ago when she met it lying astray from its corner pile herd on a small street down which the two us unconsciously turned, she makes up a language game to teach me Vietnamese, as if I didn’t know, as if I hadn’t been primed and drilled* with the lessons of her language, in terms of bearing a thing with the body each different part bears by a different word, as she demonstrates I must name the words accordingly, to hug inside the heart, to brood across the chest, to shoulder on the shoulders, to cup in the hands, to wear atop the head, to saddle on the back, to steal in the armpit, child’s play, I laugh, she counters, that easy eh, the bearing, nearly weightless isn’t it, bone-thin fingers strum an intimate conversation on the deep green fruit skin, the fingers and the we who just stroll to play are idle and quivering, tiny conversational sounds begin to radiate between them, she and the watermelon, I hear a calm fading of human utterance, I hear a garbled muffling of human utterance, the sounds of my throat are sucked back into my chest, which voice suspends itself, what occurs in the layers of air hovering between two selves, a watermelon makes one more, could it be that thing occurring could make a shared decision occur, soft fluttering rain on skin, paired together, to the end of this bridge then let’s circle back, to twice admire the river here, something utters a whisper, perhaps the time comes for us to decide something, we’ve tried to suspend it long enough, she exhales a cold rain, I can no longer presume to be sure of her utterances, is she speaking to me or the watermelon, does the decision definitely need making or not, is there a this or a that that it should definitely be, if we make no decision at all, are you ok, I’m ok, I’m not ok, I’m ok, you can’t be ok and then not ok like this always, you can understand that can’t you, my nerves rigidly stiffen and my body thins by the moment, you know, I almost have no feeling left for the existence of breasts, yeah, perhaps the time comes for us to decide something, we’ve tried to suspend it long enough, a breath of cold rain lands on my lips, the breath of rain that escaped from her voice, some thing will transform my body, I hear a garbled muffling of human utterance, she fondles the round little watermelon in her hand, a watermelon little and cute like a grapefruit, she strums the fingers of her one hand atop the watermelon tottering in her other, ridges of deep green burnt in places, blameless, innocent, willfully innocent its silence forces me to intervene in the private conversation between it and her, my ruffled heart, the watermelon grasps human conversation better than I, or better than I can hear my own utterances, or better than I can hear her utterances, the utterances of her body, a sudden heat overtakes me, this time, just this one more time, we’ll stroll around for the rest of the day rest of the week, then after that think about the decisions, how’s that sound, hasn’t the world grown weary of decisions yet, we need not bear anything more, her tender leaf thread of a voice, this watermelon’s so lovely oh, how long it waited on the pavement for me, for me to come and not be able to not choose it, because it was waiting for me, knowing I’d come, having seen me, wanting to be held in my arms, yeah, the idea of an assertive voice rises, but seems the sound gets reversed on its way out my throat, or it’s still submerged within, until the watermelon came, on our trip, we were really happy, we were really happy, we were really happy, real happiness, satiated, we need not bear anything more, you see that right, the watermelon creature is a marvel of nature, an entire universe in its green, an entire life in the red flowing blood in that green skin of a universe, the enigmatic movement of black seeds like individuals belonging to another planet, a planet we have yet to touch and whose still unknown existence gifts us one more reason to cling to this living a little bit longer, bear it a just little bit longer, she places the watermelon on her belly, the small round being turns around on the soft skirt that wraps her lovely belly, to imagine her belly suddenly turning and soaring off like a lovely round drop into the universe how could I bear it, what will bear what, what things bear each other in this universe, I open my hand wide, around her so she can keep embracing our watermelon with both hands, so very strange this feeling is, fatigue opens the body to bear something, to decide it will bear something, and how it will, but perhaps not decide anything no, each decision has been available, has been made available but will never become a decision until it is spoken out, I let go of her hand, turning the key opening the hotel door, the watermelon continues to turn in the bracelet of her hug, a being wants to soar, another planet, a child plays in the bracelet of a child’s hug, I need, she says, I mentally finish her sentence, a child to play with, I need to speak a decision, as if it weren’t the watermelon that had come, on this trip, we were really happy, we were really happy, we were really happy, real happiness, satiated, we need not bear anything more, I snap into a difficult feeling with the watermelon, burdened, do we definitely need to keep thinking about a decision, but the watermelon was coincidentally on that pavement waiting for me, just a coincidence is all, there are some coincidences not designed by fate my fatalism would argue, no, slightly raising her voice assertive, to me she says, it’s just that I need, some thing, a thing that will change my body, a secret planet, but the universe is so crowded already, I say, this is the moral issue of being human, or the guilt, or the question of aesthetics, her hands release the small round watermelon down on the bed, it rolls over rolls back, its deep green on top of a white hotel room mattress is a game in itself, spinning itself like the marvel of little planet, blameless, innocent, reminding me with its innocence that it continues to exist, silently listening to the private talk between her and I, I know it grasps this conversation, while I myself hear only a garbled muffling of human utterance, my utterance, her utterance, burdened, I collapse on the mattress, I want to hug her, roll around, but my two empty desolate arms, the watermelon is still rolling from her hands to mine, on the white bed, its deep green is a planet on which no human has ever set foot, enigmatic, wondrous, feral, budding, innocent, blameless, quietly claiming a presence between the two, she smiles for some moments, as if forgetting, as if a child, the two selves, the idle couple, I too am gradually forgetting the voices in my throat, gradually forgetting the sudden heat before its presence, a fresh green presence interjected between the two selves an uncertainty about the need to make a decision between them or not, any decision, whatever is changing in her body, some thing, the two selves roll a green watermelon around on a white mattress, she unleashes a strange sound, the rupture, red my eyes search from where the strange sound, the watermelon lying there, down on the tiled floor, the rupture, red starting to pour out, black eyes multiplying like children, blameless, the strangers of another planet, the black beings, the silent presence remains, implicated but without judgment, me or her, spilled layers of bright red pigment, she is deathly quiet, that fresh green planet has come back to be an earthly watermelon, she chokes on tears, a child plays with her, a planet displays its insides, nakedly, practically, crimson, innocent, blameless, a child, I know, perhaps no decision will need to materialize, the need to speak out, the uncertainty of the two selves grows, bursts apart, I feel her soaring up like a deep green planet, a planet whose lessons I’ve only just been primed and drilled into, to hug them in the heart, to incubate them through the chest, to shoulder them on the shoulder, to cup them in the hands, to wear them on the head, to saddle them on the back, to steal them in the armpit, a planet, the bearing of it, how much longer will we keep bearing it, every moment paired together, I hear a garbled muffling of human utterance, I hear a calm fading of human utterance, her body’s utterance, my body’s utterance, the voice of cold rain, something utterly heavy, utterly difficult, utterly trembling


*primed and drilled: translation for học vỡ long, literally ‘to study breaking the heart’, phrase for entering primary school where one encounters their first formal lessons reading and writing. Perhaps, as knowledge is stored in the heart in Vietnamese, to begin an education is to break open this storage place.