Is that you who just kicked the side of my car, as I drive real painfully slow through the town, a town near gridlocked by other cars and by people weaving between bumpers and boots, and I cannot tell if that is you with your face now pressed outside against the windscreen, whipped on each cheek in turn by my two wipers and the rain blurring your face so that I cannot tell whether it is your face at all? Eye for an eye.
But I must start at the beginning, to coin a cliché. Time is currently so old, and back then clichés have no time to become clichés. So I might as well be open with clichés, generous with expressions that you must find hackneyed or over-used. You see, to me, they are new.
Is that my house I see when I drive into its drive? The rain has stopped raining cats and dogs and now drizzles like squeezed lemons from the sky. I don't recognise its bay windows nor its dormer ones on the second floor where the bathroom is. There is a body on the bonnet, but the crowds still prevent me from parking before now. They still gather at the behest of social media, each a flashmob with a different cause, my cause being to get home fast, before being accused of murder. Then it is dark rainy murder, now it is blue murder. The sun rises into the sky, rising upon both the good and bad among us. Upon the living and the dead. This is life and that is death. So I think of death as that. Death is certain as that. Death is that. That is death.
Then that sun hides behind the veil of clouds. Now it has its happy hat on. A smile across its girth. Now it has gone again behind the horizon. Now it's up again above a different horizon. As if death and living can play peek a boo with each other. Is that too easy to believe? Always in the present tense.
Is that my living room upon the carpet of which I walk, having gained access with a key that is already in my pocket? Is that you who spreadeagles upon my car's bonnet and now walks beside me into the house, a house I do not recognise save for the key in my pocket that serves to open its front door. It is as if I accompany a burglar into my own property. Or am I the burglar? And you the owner?
Is that you who limps towards the bathroom? Is that you who tells me that I am a hit and run driver - but how can that be when I bring you home to my own house? To patch you up. Make you real. A character in my life, like a character in a book that has not yet been written. Face bruised by windscreen, clothes soaked by weather. A real dog's dinner, but some beauty shining through like a new unclouded sun.
Is that you, is that me, is that now, is that here?
Is that right that you already know the way to the bathroom? And that I only know the way to the bathroom by following you? To help you patch up your face and clothes as far as you allow me to touch you in such an intimate space. Instead, is that you helping me, dabbing my face, correcting the cut of my jib, pushing the necktie into the nest of my collar?
"Is that you?"
I suddenly hear a woman's voice from the hall downstairs, someone who just comes into the house, as if she belongs here and is surprised to find someone else at home. Or is that me to whom she asks if that is you who belongs here but not usually at this time of day? Is that me driving earlier but never reaching the office where I work? Is that me turning back home after a sudden rainstorm? Is that me or someone else?
"Is that you?" I shout back.
Is that me who depends on some assumption that couples married for some years often call 'you' to each other when out of sight from each other in a house where they live alone together, because who else can it be?
Is that me touching the neatened necktie in my collar and wondering who neatened it other than myself. Is that me touching my face, eye to eye with the half face in the bathroom mirror, the other half of the face hidden by my breath's clouding that part of the mirror like the sun being clouded by a coming storm? Is that me testing the broken skin on my face, then finger-combing my hair?
Is that me or is that you?
"Yes," is the answer in unison from a single voice.
Is that you or is that me?
Teardrops like squeezed lemons from the sky. Whipped by wipers. There are only clichés and no big words in Heaven. Only in Hell does the solipsism of flashmobs thrive.
Is that the end?