Friday, July 3, 2009

"The Best Value Under The Sun."

Terrified and frantic, I pulled his apartment together and fashioned a plan. "You can't. You wouldn't." It was clear that Boston would offer me no options. It became my inherent responsibility to unearth a solution to a problem I had caused; no, a problem I had committed. I dropped him at the local mall at 5PM, promising him that I'd return as quickly as I could. The drive to Buffalo airport to pick up R. was stomach turning. Noticing everything. The way the telephone poles passed on the highway, the smell of the power plant just beyond Grand Island, the sound of planes landing. What could I say? He didn't deserve this.

He had treated me well. It was not his fault. I could not love him.

Numb. I admitted defeat, but in true coward's form, did so introspectively. R. opened the passenger's door and sat down. I started the car and pulled away from the airport. For the first 10 minutes we were both silent. Finally I told him that I planned to leave. That things between he and I had deteriorated beyond our ability to coexist.

In reality, I could not look him in the eyes. He told me he knew, even that he understood. My mind reflected on his departure. The weight of his walk and his paralyzed expression as he moved quietly out of sight. There was a silent understanding between the two of us. The air was palatable, both knowing that after four years and many honest and not-so-honest attempts, there was nothing between us, and nothing left to say. My actions added insult to injury. In this moment, I truly understood what I had done.

He told me that my leaving was fine, but that if he found out that I had someone in the apartment while he was gone, it "would not be good." He then asked me directly, "Is there anything you have to tell me?" Driving 70MPH on the highway, I assessed the situation. This was neither the time, nor the place to have this conversation. I turned my head, looking him in the eyes for the first time. There was a long pause as the seconds seemed to stretch on. My body language said "yes", but I opened my mouth, and said "no." I told him I could not stay in "our" apartment that night. I needed "time to think" and so did he. He was suspicious, at the very least, but his response was trusting and familiar. I dropped him off, hastily packing a suitcase. I told him I would be back the following afternoon and that we would be facing a difficult conversation upon my return. I could feel him wanting to trust me. I had to escape, and quickly.

I picked up Boston. We decided it would be safest to stay in the next town. We checked into a Days Inn in Amherst, NY, stopping only for a cheap bottle of vodka. I didn't want to think. I didn't want to feel. I no longer trusted myself. I'd given up; submitted. A wave of hopelessness washed over my body. I had lost control.

The Red Sox won that night.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I closed the door behind us, stripping off icy, soaking pants and replacing them with my least appealing pair of sweats. "My" apartment became an unfamiliar place in his company. I was unfamiliar. This course of action, brash and unfamiliar. Nothing had changed but suddenly everything looked, felt and smelled foreign; alien. I struggled to grab hold of a familiar routine but was ill-prepared for the disposition of the stranger I had so passively let into "my" home. Approaching this point, our relationship had been harmless. By the morning of the 12th, there was no going back.
The next few days were a blur of cigarettes, alcohol, baseball games and dirty t-shirts. Before I had time to acknowledge the weight of my wrongdoings, it was Sunday. Boston was to fly back to Camp LeJeune, NC, leaving me just enough time to cover my tracks and swallow the hardest pill; confessing my violation of "our" space and unveiling my blueprint for the cutting of all ties, and my departure to R. Boston had other plans.

I was scared to see him go, knowing, or rather not knowing what would become of the me I knew, and the me which had evolved in the preceding days. I had plenty to lose. I began mentally preparing myself to leave the cats which I had bottle fed as kittens two years prior, imagining the bottle caps and loose change under my sofa, as I moved it onto a truck. The line of bold "W" grades on my final transcript as a result of my inability to attend classes, having moved too far away. I suddenly wished I had taken this time to let these realities sink in, instead of distracting myself with unfamiliar lips that wreaked of alcohol, cigarettes and an approaching end. It was Sunday, and R. was to return Monday evening. I was so completely mentally entangled in facing what I had done, I failed to realize that Boston was not just a stranger, he was a stranger with ulterior motives.

By Sunday afternoon it occurred to me that Boston hadn't ever mentioned the time of his departing flight. I spent the next several hours asking him, hourly, when we should prepare to leave; citing the distance to the airport and that "everyone knows you should arrive two hours early" etc. Each time he soothed my inquiries by stating that he'd "let me know" and that I should "relax and enjoy the time we have together." By 7:00PM I'd had enough of this and demanded that he let me know what his plan was. He told me that he wanted to surprise me, planning to stay another night. R. was to arrive Monday at 6:00PM, this could work. I told him that would be fine, secretly ecstatic at the elongation of my mental escape from reality. Monday morning arrived and passed. By 2:00PM I grew suspicious of Bostons motives. He confessed that he planned to stay one more night...

It became evident that I had lost control of the situation, and that Boston aimed to take control. He had reduced me to a dependent. He was my responsibility, and was not to be trusted.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I drove R. to the Buffalo airport in the early morning. No "I love you", no hugs, kisses or tearful goodbyes. I told him I'd pick him up in a few days. He trudged away, looking morose, vanquished; ill. Still, I felt nothing. The world, or at least what was within my grasp, looked different. Black and white. Every object fell below shadows and faded hues. The sun was covered by clouds. I drove back to what was now his apartment, kicking my shoes off at the door and flopping onto my couch.

844 80th Street, apartment #3: The ruins of my coward's "love".

His, mine; suddenly everything had a label. I would use this time to plan my escape. What would I take; and did I have the heart to take anything at all? I began mentally calculating what I felt belonged to me and what of my belongings felt indebted to R. My washer and dryer became his, but I would take my new sofa. He could keep my dishes, old sofa and love seat; the record console I'd refurbished, after all, he bought the parts. I'd take my records but leave the ones we'd bought together. My books were mine, but he could keep old cd's. I'd take my fair share of the nicer antiques, leaving behind a large number of small pieces I'd grown to love. The DVD's were his, as were the television and electronics. In the end, I didn't take much. I didn't want much.

He had been gone one day and I hadn't heard from you in over a month. I took nightly phone calls from Boston, who would continue to plea for my aproval of a visit. "Just give me the word. I'll be on a plane tonight." 27 years old, he bore a shocking resemblance to a young Robert Oppenheimer. R hadn't been gone two days when I broke. I told him to do "as he wishes" and go no further than he can be held "personally accountable for". On April 11th, at 9:00PM, I was waiting for Boston at the Buffalo airport.

His plane would arrive at 11:00PM, two hours behind schedule. I was walking to my car, prepared to drive home alone and believing that I may have written myself into some alternate universe when he called to tell me he had landed. We met on the second floor of a two-story parking structure. He was tall and narrow, his arms were foolishly long. In the freezing rain, and with the sound of airplanes skidding into port he threw his foolish arms around me. I drove us home quietly, through the rain.

When we arrived in "my" parking lot it was raining hard. I felt feral as I jumped in freezing puddles, running for the door of an apartment that I could no longer call my own.

Boston and I spent the next three days behind closed doors.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The fantasy of a more elegant breed; The aristocracy of Atlantis, or at very least, something more beautiful than this.

I do wish people were more kind.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Jackson, Felix and Jane

My life continued in a obdurate state of instability for the remainder of my time in Buffalo. I told R that I planned to move home following my junior college graduation in May of 2008. He was scheduled for a second spinal surgery to be preformed the first week of May. We agreed that I would stay and care for him following this second surgery. If everything were to go as planned, based on our agreement, my departure would arrive and pass on civil terms.

I arranged for R to fly to Melbourne, Florida to visit his best friend a few weeks before his surgery. Sharing an apartment had become difficult. I could not pretend to feel either sadness or happiness in the wake of our break-up. I felt nothing. It was this vacancy of feeling which became the canvas for my absence of morality. I had a friend of three years in Boston, Massachusetts. I'd never felt strongly one way or the other about this person. He was simple minded, but charming and funny, and prior to his military activation in early 2007, consistently available for light and humorous conversation. The nature of our relationship had always been casual, without any urgency and, for me at least, neutral territory; not incredibly important. I can easily recall the stories of his enlistment as a Marine, when he left for boot camp and his return from Paris Island. I remember the weeks prior to his departure. He had been activated as a gunman for caravan-style patrols in the city of Ramadi, Iraq. Immediately following his return I sensed a difference in the nature of our conversations. I should note that this difference was vaguely noticeable, as he was scarcely a supporting character in my larger life-story. He was pressuring me to visit, or that he fly in and visit. It was purely coincidental that he be on a one week, military-sanctioned leave the same week that R left for Melbourne.

He could have been anyone really.

R's trip was planned well in advance with reason. I had phoned you to tell you I was sending R on a trip. I told you I needed to see you. I gave you dates and times. I told you I would be alone. I told you it was now or never; an obviously weak and unsupported ultimatum. This phone call was an isolated incident. I did not hear from you in the weeks prior to or following our conversation. I have only a vague recollection of our sparse interactions during my final months in Buffalo. I spent a lot of time in Niagara Falls National Park. Burred deep below late-winter snow, the falls were abandoned by tourists and employees alike. I would retreat almost daily to Goat Island. I was alone in the purest sense. The island became my secret. I claimed ownership of the park as I walked in the snow, in an oversize winter jacket and knit cap smoking Ben Sherman cigarettes. I sent you a text message; something about the trees who's bark looked like water-color and how you'd love me if you did not know me.

In the park that winter, I did not know myself.

For those few weeks, on my island and engulfed by my own copious solitude, I felt love.

You never responded. There was clear evidence of a missed connection. Of poor timing. I felt pressure, my body was being crushed under the weight of inaccessibility.

He could have been anyone really.

Friday, June 5, 2009

In my cupped hands

In the fall of 2007 R had surgery on a cluster of slipped disks in his lower back. He had been on military medical leave for a month prior to his scheduled surgery. Sadly, the procedure was unsuccessful. His recovery was slow and offered little relief from the shooting pain he experienced as a result of these disks pinching nerves which directly supported his lower extremities. His income had supported both he and I for the duration of my time in Buffalo, and I had no reservations providing the extensive care he required following this failed surgical procedure. From October of 2007 to March of 2008, I assumed the role of a nurse in our home.

R recovered, gradually requiring less attention/aid for his more basic needs. Before he had recovered to a pre-surgical physical status, he began playing drums with a local band. While I supported his social conquests, I was resentful of his failure to follow his doctors orders. He was lackadaisical in other areas of recommended recovery procedures as well. His doctor had advocated the incorporation of simple exercises into his daily routine, and sanctioned that he diet, as the loss of 20-30 pounds would have provided a notable relief from pain associated with his injury. While I was losing weight rapidly, and eating a healthy, all-inclusive vegetarian diet, R put very little effort toward satisfying his doctor's recommendations. We both felt the trauma of insurmountable stress. He was becoming depressed, and I was in deeper than I could handle physically, mentally and emotionally.

March broke my silence. Spring break, 2008. I fled to my Father's house in Fayetteville, New York. Tearfully, I told him I planned to leave R. That things were not working out and hadn't been for a very long time. I spoke of how the guilt I felt for not loving him, despite his most valiant efforts, was feasting on the "good" I could find in who I was. Dismissive, my Father told me I was overreacting, and perhaps overstressed. His reaction came as a surprise to me. Fleeing to my parents home in a state of distress was not typical of my behavior. I had lived in Buffalo for three years, and aside from holiday visits and monthly phone calls for which to report "all is well", this admission of defeat was not in my nature.

I returned to Buffalo bitter and without support. I had no money and nowhere to go. I no longer felt any connection to my belongings. I felt demolition, destruction and a consuming sense of numbness. You had resurfaced briefly during this period with text messages stating that you "needed more" if you were to stay committed to the idea of who I could be for you. This admission, after months of silence, came as a shock, but I was deeply enveloped in my own hard-comings and brushed you aside. My mind and body became separate entities. I was unstable and unpredictable. I wanted to cover your eyes and ears.

I had nothing to offer. I had nothing to lose.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"We Ain't Got No Money, Honey, But We Got Rain."

Passing storms are cooling the city while old quandary washes in with the rain.

Today I am not entirely trusting.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"Just remember darling, all the while, you belong to me."

You graduated college in 2007. I heard you were in Delaware working with a minor league baseball team. I imagined you experiencing "freedom" by way of pub craws and after-hours at work. When I went home for Christmas that year I hadn't heard from you in four months. The text message I received on the night of Christmas eve did not come as a surprise.

"I need to see you."

I didn't. Knowing you were alright was enough. Despite being within 10 miles of one another for the first time in over a year, I was not ready to see you. By this time I had lost sixty pounds, not even within eyesight of my goal. I had this vision that when I got "there", to a place I envisioned myself mentally and physically, in an oversize Fred Perry cardigan and jeans tailored to fit my perfect, imaginary body, I would find you. It wouldn't matter where you were or what you were doing, I knew exactly what you wanted and my only focus had become satisfying your expectations. Having a rough idea of where you were was enough, I didn't need you mucking up my greater plan with your new-life issues.

Sometime following the holiday, January or February maybe, you called while I was sleeping. You left a voice mail that I must have listened to thirty times while debating whether or not you were sincere. Whether or not I'd call you back. Whether or not I was ready for the unexpected. The "new" you.

"...Because in the end, you're my best friend and the only person who really cares about me..."

I broke. This time things were well planned out. I did my grocery shopping in Williamsville that evening, about 40 miles from where I lived. I told you I'd call at nine and I did. You went on about how you were drying your Brooks Brothers tie, finding it both humorous and satisfying that you'd have to concern yourself with such things. I told you our conversation felt small and insignificant. I wanted you to know that I wasn't interested in casual dialogue. I told you things hadn't been good. That I was planning, at this point, to leave R, that I had lost a great deal of weight in a less than healthy fashion which resulted in several hospitalizations, that my life as I knew it was beginning to collapse around me by my own devices and that I was in no position to take on additional hardship by way of our relationship. Somehow, this too became small talk. You told me your new job required many unpaid hours overtime. You were drinking as much as ever and had developed a reputation for being a drunk which permeated your work environment and resulted in a vocal lack of respect by your associates, administrators and subordinates. This is as much as I can recall of our colloquy before I was within eyesight of my apartment complex. I told you I needed to go, and asked you what I should expect for the future. "Are things going to go back to the way they were? I mean, phone calls. Text messages. What should I expect from you?" You told me that you should be asking me if it would be okay for us to continue, implying that you took some kind of responsibility for our prior contention.


I could have told you that I loved you. That I thought about you every day or even more truthfully, every hour- several times. I didn't. "Slowly" I said, as I hung up the phone.

There was a notable gap before I heard from you again. Just enough time to poise my most brilliant failure to date.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunning on the back deck with popsicles and X on vinyl.

Tiding the time.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Decline: From Latin "declinare", to turn aside.

For a good while, there was nothing to tell. Still restlessly riding in the passengers seat, watching someone else's life in motion. I watched my body move satellite from my conscious being. The quiet seemed to emanate from the closing doors of your greyhound bus.

What had started as a drinking problem transitioned into extensive, exhaustive alcoholism. The nature of our relationship changed completely. In what felt like an instant, I didn't know you. Wild mood swings and black-out nights left you confused in the mornings. I would be the receiver of countless messages and phone calls that you would never remember; and the things you said, I would never forget. I felt gravity wane as I bloodied my fingers trying frantically to grab hold of the pavement, of our foundation, of what I wanted but couldn't take. You visited again, but this time things were different. There was a distance between us. Instead of trying to remember, I was looking for someone I could forget. As you walked out the door, I took a long, hard look at the person exiting my apartment. I knew it would be a long time before I saw you again. I knew we would not be the same.

My health began to spiral. Was it excess? Was I the cat that got the cream? I was as fat as royalty. I had never been a small girl and this has become something of a defining and defeating element of who I was then and, despite enormous weight loss, who I am now. For whatever reason, I had a difficult time blaming your regression on the absence of your good-natured being. I turned the blame, like a gun, toward myself. Unlovable, undesirable; I couldn't exude the charms I contained. I couldn't make you want good for yourself. I couldn't be the one to make you right. I was a damaged package, and my allegiance was deniable. I began to look at myself not as a human, but as some kind of monster. I regressed to a state of hyper-egocentrism, believing that everyone I came in contact with saw me as this derivation of what should be human; a mutation of "woman". I took your emotional and psychological blows with little resistance from then on. Submissive, I began abusing laxatives, purging and starving myself. You became the center of my universe, and my only motivation.

I spent the next two years painfully in love with a ghost I couldn't shake.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Brothers of the Head (2005)

Doo Wop Doughnut Shop

I dream of baking and frying fluffy, fresh confections and hoop-shaped culinary concoctions. Great American Doughnut Shop, open 24 hours. Surely there is a 3am shift I can fill. Sprinkles and powdered sugar, and hot coffee (no experience required.)

Today I have made it my personal goal to work as a doughnut-slinging waitress, cashier and baker(ella) at the small doughnut joint around the corner. Four booths. Cigarette stained wallpaper and drop ceiling. Men in denim slacks and suspenders with gummy, toothless grins. A short stack of soft doughnuts for each.

Loosen your "Bible belt" Kentucky, you've got room for one more.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

In the red corner...

Though I had recognized my need for a sabbatical from our friendship, distancing myself became something of an impossibility. I credit the distractions associated with moving for the short-lived success of my existing relationship. Nursing kittens, selecting the perfect hanging flower basket and the attendance of my first official college classes occupied the bulk of my time. I saw endless possibilities in my new surroundings; among these possibilities was chance for the re-birth of a psychological connection with my "ordinary" man. Together we were treading water, for these few months at best. A postmortem heartbeat, but no pulse.

While "I'd still jump in front of a flying bullet for you", it was easier for me to say "what difference does it make?" I was in the business of embracing the "here-and-now", and in doing so, reducing my universe to a more manageable size. My mission called for the compression of our ever expanding, abstract relationship. Categorization. Marginalization. Assimilation. But you were the square peg; unwilling to join the ranks of ordinary men.

So we planned your first visit. You arrived on a late night bus. I remember watching you descend through the folded doors of public transport. Breathless, I took a mental photograph and stored it somewhere safe. You were no longer a ribbon of fluid on my post-frontal cortex. It had been well over a year, and I had missed you more than you could have possibly known.

The few days we spent together were pegged with moments I vowed never to forget. Drunk and in pajamas, we would stay up late discussing everything and nothing; connecting the dots and discovering a common language. We lay on the kitchen floor in the dark, sharing a bottle of Jameson Irish whiskey and you grab my face, giving a hard look and say

"I would defend you to anyone. You know that right?" You held my body tight.
A 1-2 punch. I was yours. A moment I would never forget. You would change me. Define me. Own me. I still remember how soft the hairs at the nape of your neck were as I clung to your body, my arms around your shoulders, running my hands down the back of your head.

When you left, I couldn't watch. R walked you into the bus station, even shook your hand. I sat in the passengers seat. It was a quiet ride home.

We were unclassified, and we would remain unclassified.

Pat Kelly- If it Don't Work Out

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"A man say to his woman: I got me a dream. His woman say: Eat your eggs."

I expected this summer to bloom like a stem of Kentucky goldenrod, with blossoms opening in both tandem and mosaic patterns, synonymous with our dreams and plans; nonlinear, and with no particular goal. It has become something of our fashion, a "laissez-faire" approach to an abstract end. "Happiness", for whatever it's worth.

I have rarely been spoon-fed the products of my efforts. My goals continue to lay in abstract and less conceptual works. To make you "warm", to aid in the ease of your slumber; muse, to make you want the things you need and need the things you love. In these first two weeks, I've seen failures in my efforts, non-efforts, spoken and non-spoken desires and the fruits of all, raisins in the sun.

His criticisms make me feel negligible. I find myself questioning this prospect of "love", juxtaposed against his uncanny ability to reduce me. Yesterday I was questioning the mistakes I'd made. Today, I am questioning the mistakes I am bound to make if I continue on this path.

I fear total collapse.

Tonight, I feel faded hues of a watercolor backdrop with its foreground unfinished. Uninspired. Microscopic. Have I been wrong all along?

Friday, May 22, 2009

But I thought of you every day. This was true.

I felt the vulgarity of his decline conquer my body, satellite from his own, and with little cognizance of the level to which his decay had spread. I would retreat, in an effort to save that which sustained me. I had lived in Buffalo one year. Naive and nearly twenty, I grasped at my existing relationship with hopeless hands. A hasty move into an 80th street townhouse from our humble single floor, two bedroom on Caravelle Drive would serve as an oasis.

It was August. I was nineteen. You were twenty.

I fled the technology which connected us. This time I promised myself that I would put in a real effort toward making my relationship work. He may have loved me blindly, or maybe he just didn't care; either way, his money was our means and he showed no reservation in buying a fix.

We agreed that I would stop working, attend college full time and spend my free moments assuming my gender-role in the way of caring for kittens, a vegetable garden and any other extraneous tasks assigned to the "housewife."

I wanted to give myself more to lose.
I wanted to believe that I had made the right choices.
But I was nineteen,
and my fortune told of bigger, better mistakes.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thus far...

Love, we have arrived.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"The tigers have found me and I do not care"

The administrable micro-chasm that was my life had expanded, in a single moment, to the universes surrounding my own, and swallowing their surrounding universes in an infinite realm of space, time and possibilities. I could see the curvature of the earth. I was high. It was this feeling of want and need tugging at my limbs from the same direction, pulling me effortlessly away from a controllable world. I was weightless.

I scrambled for an answer mentally; biting my tongue and the insides of my cheeks to fight the Cheshire-grin forcing its way to my surface like a vanguard surging unfamiliar territory.

"Oh you know, he's very literal. 'be together' doesn't mean any more than occupying the same physical space. He's probably just lonely."

That was enough. He trusted me blindly, unaware that he had lost me just as blindly. From that moment forward, the pulsing, breathing, fleshy and thought submerged entity; my blood, flesh, and bones belonged to my best friend, who I loved as well.

I wondered if anyone else could see the scarlet letter palpitating on my chest, which would rise and fall for the moments of nourishment I would seize from the attention you gave me.

And just as soon as I had reached an emotional climax, hanging on your every thoughtful word, the drinking began.

A vile taste began building in my mouth...

Friday, May 15, 2009

"All for one day ideal and saffron-drenched"

It took 30 seconds.
I fed you my heart, lovingly, as I ate yours out of the palm of your hand.

I made it, because he made it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Are all the foods you ate enough to fill your plate?"

I left my home town with an ordinary man. Not more than a few inches taller than I. Early onset male pattern baldness and 8 years my senior; he made enough money to keep us comfortable. Three years later I would find myself enrolled in a college course titled "Sociology and the Family", and discover the degree to which I had become a post-high school statistic: Female. Emerging from a broken home and having a distant relationship with both of my parents, I was "finding comfort in an unchanging situation." Imagine statistical charts and data claiming some significant number of women who had grown up in broken homes, later forgoing college in a juvenile and submissive attempt to find consistency [typically depending on a man.] As I flipped pages, there were names and studies for and surrounding every mistake I'd made. I was dwarfed by this discovery.

I am Molly, #44783. I am among millions of others who have, both cross-culturally and over time, made this very mistake. I am in good company.

...And just like that, I moved out. Toppling head over heels into what would become a

It didn't take more than three months. My contact with him became aggressively persistent. Each morning I awoke and took a knee, praying to the Gods of technology. Phone calls, text messages and emails had become nourishing; the things of my dreams. I can't quite recall how our friendship had blossomed into this deadly foxglove, but my memory of its momentum is as clear as if it were yesterday. We were present. We were unstoppable. As unstoppable as nature itself.

I was sitting on a cracked, unfinished hardwood floor in a pre-war apartment in downtown Buffalo. Pauly Issue was pressing Busch into my best friend's hand and she had reached penumbra, basking in the light of his attention. I introduced her. "This is Janelle. She is a gem." Eclipse. I quickly retreated. Text messages. Technology. Omnipotent technology.

Alone amongst the crowd. Ghost faces now. Ghost faces then. I felt the phone buzz. I was holding it. I was waiting for you.

"I love you" He says.
I tell him "I know."
I was breathless. In my mind I imagined myself throwing my body into traffic. Kicking the heads off every blooming flower. Breaking windows and punching walls. Kissing with passion. I was alive, finally, and with reason. I became what Buk would call, "A [rat] in the gravy of two gone quite mad. without a chance." You were completely out of reach. You were dangling 50 feet above my head. We needed each other.

The next morning, I remember I was driving R and I home from breakfast. We were in my car. My phone buzzes. "Who is that from?" I ask. It was from you. "Read it" I said.

"We should be together" he says.

"What is this all about?!"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Sorry, haven't had time to call back. Busy. You'll do fine. Almost there!"

6:00 Am- Wednesday, May 13th, 2009.
"You're going to be home tomorrow."

"We're so close"

Five years ago he came home from college to summer with his parents. I was on the cusp of a not-so-inevitable high school graduation. I had worked at the grocery store for almost two years. When I found out he would be among the self-loathing college students hired by my store as summer help, I wanted to quit. I wanted to throw up. I wanted to run.

This person makes me nervous.
This person makes me anxious.
This person laughs at my expense.
They all do, but from this one, I simply cannot take the embarrassment.
I'll make a fool out of myself just trying to slide under his radar.

I think he took comfort in knowing that no person he had the capacity to respect bore witness to our interactions. My shame was his safe haven. I have not forgotten that feeling.

That summer we took long breaks. We shared bags of cherries, spitting pits in the parking lot. I could have worked 80 hour weeks with you. I was convinced that they were paying me too much. Years later he would tell me I was his "only light" that summer. I've never found a way to make him understand the degree to which he controlled me, from invisible beginnings.

I moved to Buffalo in August of 2005 with a man I would inescapably grow to resent for keeping me from him. I told myself it was love. That got me in the passengers seat of a moving truck. That got me as far as it needed to.

For the next three years, I would be riding in the passengers seat.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I am summering in Kentucky, in a very small, and if I am remembering correctly, sterile, second floor apartment. A place I haven't seen in 3 months, and have gradually swayed myself to stop thinking of as a place to call home. For the last two months, I have put a knowledgeable effort behind finding home in other people and places, and in myself.

An effort was put forth. I tell myself that too.

In less than 48 hours, I'll be arriving at a newly constructed, open and operational single-A minor league ballpark more than 900 miles away. A black-haired girl will seat me in a location he can see. When we meet again, our lives will change. Its become something of a norm, my life fluctuating at his whim.

We've talked ad nauseum about a dog. He's got his vision. I've got mine, and somewhere they overlap in the way of a border collie mutt. "I'll call him Stinky until it sticks." I know the dog will love him more. So does he. Just the thought of it. Hot, sticky summer. "Our" dog. Kentucky. Baseball. I can see myself sitting on the floor with my head on his knee. As loyal as our dog. As predictable as his dining recommendations.