Nerve-static crawls up your legs when you hear him on the other end of the couch. His soft choo’s have picked up a phlegmy weight, distracting you from the group of young Berliners driving to the bank they will hold up in the predawn quiet. A dilemma: shift position or let him sleep, his trap of legs over your lap. Each moment a choice. Each decision shapes the coming world, cuts off other possibilities from becoming the now. They jump out of the van, starting a sequence of events you know will kill most of them. Pausing the movie to finish it together another time is the option you do not take. Let your monolingual boyfriend sleep. Turn the subtitles off. With the volume down, it sounds like the night is telling you a secret on its way out the door. The bank robbers die one by one, like seconds. Any generosity you will want to extend to him—likely exhausted from the afternoon’s snowy walk and/or from insomnia the previous night—will fade away after a complaint to your friends that the movie was boring. You will hear not in English. You knew this would happen. Still, you hoped for a different ending. For now, dawn arrives in the city. People wake up assuming the world is as they left it. A lone survivor walks down the sidewalk and into the background. She does not know to whom she would tell this story.
Lucas Wildner is a poet and essayist in Seattle. His current project examines the relationships between internalized homophobia and white privilege. Recent and forthcoming work lives at Chronotope Magazine, Homology Lit, Night Music Journal, Nice Cage, and elsewhere. On Twitter @wucas_lildner
Photography by: Anne Nygård