Four surfboards leaned against the wall in an unfamiliar room on the far edge of the city. I’d woken up after two hours of sleep in a bed too small for two people. The concert the night before had been loud, the sound had come in not just through the seashell curl of the ears, but through the skin to the guts and the bones. It was December and before heading north toward home, we walked the beach—it’s easy to forget in the compression of steel and cement that the city touches ocean, too. We were quiet, tired, and stunned by the force of our recent collision. I squinted in the light, that unforgettable light, that pure, so-bright December light, there on a beach at the far rocky edge of the city.
“I need you to know that I’m vulnerable to you,” he said. “You have a power over me. Please use it wisely.”
This is not what one wants to hear.
Sirens sang at the edges. They sang on far rocky cliffs overlooking the ocean. The men who heard their song, it is important to note, were already at sea. Literal sea. Figurative sea. If you hear the Sirens’ song, you have already unhooked yourself from life on land, from the familiar conventions and constraints of family and routine. If you hear the Sirens singing, it means you’ve placed yourself in earshot, opened yourself to new music. It is important to note, too, that what looked like an edge to the men was the center for the Sirens. They sang, laughed, remembered to buy paper towels and to get the exercise they needed. What seemed so exotic to others, so enticing, was life as usual on the cliff.