Some Things You Can’t Force


There is a place off the Alaskan coast where two seas of different densities collide. From an aerial view, a great expanse of black water, velvet-surfaced water, advances like an army to meet its rippling grey-green neighbor. They crash against each other in a divide of frothy white, water against water, both relentlessly trying to invade the other but unable. They are Different Waters.

You are a sea and I am a sea. Beside me, I see the body of your water and throw my own against yours. But like that magic place off the Alaskan coast, from our meeting erupts a ridge of separation. We are seas of different densities and we cannot join, no matter how many hundreds of thousands of years we lay side by side, our point of contact will be fleeting, will be turbulent.

One night, we sat on the stoop outside of a fast food restaurant and ate chicken fingers from our laps. I told you, then, that,

“If we were characters in a movie, I don’t think there is any story that could put us as characters in the same movie.”

“Why?” you asked, between chews.

“I don’t know. Maybe we’re too different. Or maybe our trajectories are aimed in such different directions that once here and now passes, the little arrows at the ends of our lines will never meet again.”

“But if this was a movie, right now, haven’t we already been brought together?”

“True,” I agreed — a beat.

“Then maybe you should write a film where we can be characters together.”

But while I know how to manipulate words, I do not know how to manipulate nature. You cannot contradict natural truth, just like you cannot force the two seas together. You cannot will them together.

Later, in the car, Hank Thompson sang to us from the radio, That was my doom, my heart went boom, I got a humpty dumpty heart” and we laughed but, otherwise, sat in silence.

“This should be a scene in our movie,” I finally said.

“This, right now? Even this part? This part with us talking about how this should be a scene in our movie?”


You smiled, your eyes on the road instead of on me. “What kind of plot would it fit into?”

“Don’t care,” I told you tiredly. “But this should be a scene in our movie. The last scene.”

“Oh yeah?  How will it end?  Are we going to crash?” You tip the wheel a bit to the right, jokingly rocking us both.

“No. It will end when we stop at the next red light,” I said, seeing a streetlight glow green for go, for it’s okay, I’ll allow it, for now’s your chance! You drive faster to make the light and as we hum across the asphalt, black, the light changes to cast a cautionary yellow glow on the string of cars in front of us.

“Are you ready?” I ask, sitting up straighter, fixing my hair, preparing for the end of our movie.


We ease to a stop just as the left turn signal blinks red. I imagine that the camera pans out, above of us on the street and then higher and higher, away away away. From far above, I imagine that the streets change in the darkness and we become two seas of different densities, colliding. 

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