“someone.exe” by Brian Oliu

There is always a fear of no one, the yelling voices after cars failing to start on late evenings, the noise muffled through glass doors and windows, and then, nothing, no one except an anonymous log-in meant to get and put and not to synchronize, no way to write new things or to even acknowledge existence beyond a time stamp filed into a log with a dot in front of the filename, something invisible. This is the fear that draws me to who I am supposed to be, a person without a home, a transitory voice which could be anywhere, at the end of a road where no one lives anymore or a field where there is no commentary except that of the contrast between the stalks and sky. I like to imagine that I can see you from where I am, no need to walk up hills in residential neighborhoods, no need to walk up the spiraling staircases of hotels and churches, that from where I stand you can see me and I can see you with your head down, god I hope your head isn’t down because I know something about islands but nothing about where you are, this place I have never been to, only in my childhood when memory was selective, where I don’t remember much, but I know that I was good, which, is good for an infant to be: good. To be good is to be functionable, to pretend that one does not even exist beyond the stretches of its actual being and purpose, cars running good, no check engine light, computers running good, no back-up of caches that need to be cleaned, relationships good, no fights, no bad sex or bad sectors. I was good, didn’t cry, didn’t spin, didn’t slide through cracks in doors into unsafe non-childproof environments. I ate what was presented to me, presumably spoon-fed and I liked it, the food was good, perchance. No spitting on priests or bicycle-kicking any aunts or swatting the spirit away like a summertime baseball gnat, none of that and where I’m sorry I kissed you on Christmas observed, and I’m sorry they made a scene about it, all of them, presumably in sweaters to resemble snowmen or elves, or even St. Nick himself, if their parents had the audacity. Me, I wore green and blue, as that was the sweater of the time, a sweater I probably received in a red Macy’s box from my grandmother who worked there, selling perfume and other l’eau de toilettes to good Christians or at the very least half-way decent lovers or those who understand the nuances of holidays and the giving of things wrapped in gold or perhaps hidden with paper. You could have been wearing white and there could have been lace, and there could have been shoes, Mary Janes, maybe, but I kissed you like I kissed an aunt or my grandmother or even my father at the time when kissing dad was okay, despite hating the scratches of stubble, though I understand now, as I can never get that juniper soap and safety razor combination quite right. It wasn’t because of the pageant where we all represented a color (mine was yellow, I wore a sun) or represented a member of the Nazareth community (mine was a magi, I carried gold) it was because it was Friday, and that’s how these things worked, apparently. And this is what I remember about this place, that somewhere in between waking up in the middle of the night and feeling my way along the paneling towards a nightlight and towards where my parents sleep and kissing someone in a church playroom there was you, among the oranges, doing things that I could imagine myself doing, waking up earlier than me despite the time difference and being beautiful, despite the stress of being asked to communicate the power of communication to people and sisters being married while you hold your mother’s arm for photographs, her eyes and smile yours, your black and white dress I see on other women that are not you, your mother’s heart trying to stay strong for you, you strong for her, and you strong for me because I see these things with two eyes functioning as one, this solidity in sight despite this distance of time and memory and the comfort that if I am ever nobody, you’ll find me.

More nonfiction at Used Furniture.


  1. […] piece 'someone.exe' is up on Used Furniture Review.  Many thanks to editor David Cotrone for his help! Filed under: […]

  2. […] this essay by Brian Oliu in the Used Furniture Review. And submit your writing to them […]

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