• By Kate Lewis (they/them)
  • Art “Untitled” by Michelle Huynh (she/her)

Two faces. Drowning in the blackness of a chasm in the ocean. Swimming to the surface, they reach the shore that I stand alone upon. Singing the lyrics of a lullaby I do not recognize. I draw myself closer to their melody, wishing I could only understand what it meant to have a melody in the first place.

I watch them speak as if they are dancing. Push and pull in a rhythm I dare not try to replicate. Their hands on the curves of slender hips and the slope of the neck. Their feet placed in accordant steps. One begins to dip back, trusting that there is refuge in their partner’s absolute grasp. They’ve learned to swim, they’ve learned to dance.

I am not like them. I wish to see what they see. I wish to dance, oh I wish to sing.

Music is not something within me. I mastered dissonance instead of rhythmic harmonies. In rare instances, songs of vitality will start to flow out of me like the waves on the newly sacred beach. Only to be stifled by their delicate serenade, which attracts the company of a chorus chanting in a holy sanctuary.

The chorus softens to a hum, and the pair asks me to sing a ballad, but I come up empty handed. They stand still, unable to waltz together in a room that begins to fill with ocean water. I have a voice with cracks where there should be harmony. Two left feet and a pair of shoes to match. Any motion from me would ruin the intimacy of their symbiotic affair.

They begin to sing in response to the sea touching their feet. Reviving the chorus, reviving the room. I do not try to dance. I do not even try to bob my head. They place their arms in each other’s and sway in the way only two faces that were once drowning can. ▲