TRANSWESTERNISM1 AS SEEN AMONG REAL-LIFE FICTION

EMILY TOWNSEND

 
 

The boyfriend glances at his girlfriend, who is flipping through
Nonstop Metropolis in the topography section
of the City Lights’ Bookstore. They share a grin
once she looks back at him. You wonder how long it took
them to find each other, in this city or across
 
continents, if their mental map created a path
where they were going to some day
wander into each other’s atlases, combing through obscure
landscapes that once never knew its tourists.
There are no compendiums for this, no official guide
 
of darkened hachures of places they had individually
frequented before they intersected each other’s latitudes and longitudes.
You wonder when their lexicons coalesced, when they started
sharing the same legend of this massive gleaming globe.
But then all the questions hit you,
 
supraliminal to the fact that the visitors in your life
have never become local. You seem to run parallel
to everyone’s slope, completely missing the juncture.
The kiosks do not carry diagrams that point
to your next destination. The couple walking
 
out the door now leaves a trail to be followed
in your mind, where you imagine one of them returning
to their place, their voice ringing down the hall,
their eyes celestial as they blink in the dark. This is what you want.
The symbol of a star to represent that you’re home.
 
 
 
1 Transwesternism, n. The desire to have someone to return to after traveling solo, whether from six states away on vacation or the grocery store or a long day alone in public; the intense desideratum to connect to someone, tell your stories, observations, to a face, not a screen.

 

 
 

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