"What do you believe in?"
"I don't know… I guess my beliefs are in flux."
This was a very strange date. We walked through Brooklyn, alongside the Hudson. He asked questions, I answered them. He learned about me, but I still knew nothing about him. Not even his real name, unless he sincerely expected me to believe it was 'Hawk'. (Just 'Hawk', he had said when he introduced himself. No surname, no explanation). He was mysterious, cocky and, despite his strangeness, not unattractive. The fullness of his lips, the questions hiding behind his dark brown eyes. Skin like darkened wood in a crackling fire, but softer than down.
The questions? They began innocently enough. What do you do? Where are you from? What do/did your parents do? What are your hobbies?
"Do you have any regrets?
"At night, what are your dreams like? Your terrors?"
"If you could learn the date and nature of your death, would you?"
I was about to make my apologies, my excuses and then my exit, when he stopped, looking out over The Narrows at the setting sun.
"Now doesn't that just take your breath away?"
I stopped to look at well, and despite my unease, had to agree. It had been longer than I could remember since I watched a sunset. The colors so easily fade from your memory, how vivid and diverse they are. Muted oranges folding into reds, glittering pinks dancing in the dust, its rays filtering downward, embracing us as they fade away. I closed my eyes, and for a moment imagined myself drifting over the horizon and into the dark, into wherever the sun disappears in the night, over into the other side of the Earth.
"What do you believe in?" Hawk asked again, staring at me intently. As if to see through any lies or obfuscation to the truth that hides in every heart.
"I… like I said, I don't know. What do you?"
Finally he answered a question of his own. "I believe that anything is possible. That we set our own limitations and live by them. And die by them. I believe that before us is a bridge, and it could carry us safely over this tributary if we wished it. Do you?"
"Hawk, I…" I didn't know how to answer.
"You used my name," He smiled, "Maybe you're starting to, even if you don't know it."
We stood there silent for a bit, until, without warning. Hawk jumped up onto the railing separating us from the rushing waters below.
"I believe," He said, perched precariously on the line between life and oblivion, "That in our minds hides the key to controlling our universe."
One foot hovered out over the river. Hawk closed his eyes and whispersed "I believe a bridge grows Brooklyn. Do you?"
Still smiling, he steps out into the air, and… stands there. Not hovering but standing like beneath him there is solid ground instead of an abyss. From this nothing, this 'bridge', he turns to me and extends and hand.
"Well? Do you?"
My heart raced, blood flowing from my head to loins and back again. I felt light. Unsure if I had gone mad or if, for the first time in my life, I was truly sane. The veil was lifted, behind it the truth. A valley that stretches out infinitely beyond anything I had considered before. Reality is malleable. We can be its makers, or its un-makers.
And why not? God made us in his image. Why can't his reflections contain his power?
"I do." I said, grinning as I accepted his grasp.
Passers-by, dismissed as troubled or mistaken or lunatics by their friends and family, swore up and down by what they saw that day. Two men, kissing, standing in the open air over a raging river. Two men, smiling, captivated by each other and nothing else. Two men who disappeared with the setting sun.