In literary theory, the chronotope is how a moment in time and space collide through language.

The Impressionist

I can still remember the first time I touched her hand — like really held it and felt it. We were laying in my bed, lights off, the door cracked so only a little bit of light shone through against the wood floor. She laid on her back, facing the ceiling, and I laid beside her on my stomach, watching her. I don’t remember how it happened, but I remember cradling her hand in mind and tracing my finger within her palm, and my god.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to any great art gallery —The National Gallery of Art, the Louvre, the MET, any of them — but there’s always a moment when you find that one piece that you resonate with most. You can’t help but stare and feel all of your insides melt with the greatest joy the world has seen, but you are there, experiencing some of the greatest art the world has seen. That’s what it was like — holding her hand was like standing in an art museum and staring at the most beautiful painting or sculpture. It was like feeling the entirety of the world and all of its form of expression descend into my fingers while I traced her palm. If I had to tell a painter how to portray it on canvas, I’d tell them to reach for the colors of an azure sky, daffodils, seafoam like the coral reefs, ballet-slipper pink, and lavender. Happy colors, impressionist colors. She was an impressionist painting: full of greatness and potential, a patchwork quilt of colors composed in the greatest masterpiece possible, something to make you fall in love if you stared at it for too long.

She wasn’t the museum type. She would probably roll her eyes if she were to ever read this. She would always roll her eyes when I looked at her hands, because I was obsessed with the way her fingers curled or how her palms open up so graciously and lovingly. She would hit me and say I was too poetic or too writerly — probably in too deep — but I think she was also the type to take it in. She may not have been the museum type, but she was the type to look at you, really look at you, and feel your soul and heart and mind within moments of speaking. She knew character and she knew people; she had the most forgiving heart of anyone I had known, and I knew that to forgive so passionately, she had to have felt the world all at once, all the time. She may not have been the museum type, but she looked at people as if they were paintings: she took them in, would gaze or stare for a moment, and let herself feel all that they were or could be. 

Even after all this time, I never really knew what she truly felt for me, or what her thoughts were when we first held hands or when we first kissed, but I do remember distinctly looking into her eyes because I could tell she saw those same colors in me the way I did in her, and she was afraid, because it wasn’t alcohol, it wasn’t the dimmed light of parties, or falsehood, or even sharpness, but rather, it was color — happy, innocent color that she had never seen before.

No matter how much time has passed, when I think of her hand the night I first held it, the colors come back.

Leaves of Grass: An Apothecary

Revisiting