You changed my life. Now tell me, was that ever a line you’ve practiced before? Because it sounded so ethereal– that sentence. So much I wanted to feel more cheerful that someone had actually uttered such a damned thing to me. And time, the actual time we were lying on bed and couldn’t see pictured anywhere on my wall, hadn’t stopped for the words that increased velocity and alighted like a meteorite. The first expectation was to only have a slight bruise, not something that would suddenly give me a malignant tumor, and then make me want to claw everything all out. I spun in circles, with moments of us really spinning in the city’s music venues like life-long dance partners all in between, and with many more memories that dizzied me. The end pulled me to the beginning. Side B to Side A. “…Never been reluctant to share, passing out pieces of me…” to “As I’m getting older, chip up on my shoulder…” Mac’s voice crooned from the shitty vinyl speakers I could only afford. It brought upon such a heavy loneliness, much like an astronaut’s, a seclusion of being months or years away from human life. And ironically, it started with the first thing you told me, “You know I adore you right?”
(Life flashes behind your eyes the most when any kind of love gets deferred).
- “You feel really nice. Your hands feel nice. I’m going to miss that.”
- “Are you laughing?”
- “No, I’m crying.”
- “There are moments in this conversation that make me unsure if this is the right thing to do.”
- “I feel so dramatic crying.”
- “Don’t. This is how you feel. Let yourself.”
After our conversation, I felt limp. Almost like a wilted flower. I was zippering my jacket and slipping on an Irish woolen beanie. I needed to go to the bathroom after you. When I was done, you had on your sister’s bright red varsity jacket, her name imprinted on the breast. Even after I had no weight in me, I insisted I needed air. So you had to grip me like a balloon in the elevator before the lobby appeared, bright and scary. Then it was through the revolving doors, and into the biting cold where I’d shiver and wonder if you felt it through my hand—the shaking— as if holding a buzzer. I tried walking slower and thought to pick parts of the street we were on as conversation distractions or really, movement bumps.
“The Empire State building’s lights are getting lazy, don’t you think? They’re still red and green and its already past New Year’s…” my cracked voice remarked for you to only make a short stop and give some optimistically-built reply, “Isn’t it incredible we can have this view…” This I would have a problem with eventually. Later on, it would occur to me how angry I would feel, thinking how unaffected you made yourself always seem, even when you were falling apart yourself. Would you fake sincerity if there was going to be a next time? We already lost everything that we began, so you and I can at least start being more honest…
The sign swiftly turned to a hand and you noticed, taking me for a little jog across the street. It wasn’t necessary since there was a subway entrance on the block we were already on; but I couldn’t have myself expose that little fact when each step felt precious in the moment. We hugged hard enough that I hoped it could somehow reverse the whole situation. It would undo this grave mistake and we’d go back to my room or the den to watch that stoner comedy you made me believe we were going to watch on this same day— Pineapple Express. We’d laugh, without crying. And eat the popcorn I just bought for that. But of course it wasn’t at all the case.
Crossing the lights, I knew strangers could hear me. The vastness of the city buildings had no effect because every sensation I let out seemed to bounce back. I was this giant—a weeping, ugly one. Some lady stopped to even say, “I’m so sorry for what you’re feeling. I’ve cried like this… in front of people before.” I whispered “Thanks” and craved to sit so I did on a step, never-minding its dirtiness. I didn’t want anyone to think you were the cause of me looking distraught, slouched on pavement and possibly mistaken for being homeless. You told me to let myself feel, so I cried and cried into this cycle of despising you then me then you, until it eventually all blanked out, like the end of a conditioned record. Now, I see the moment more objectively from what I can remember, and still can’t quite discern how hard everything had hit. How it happened when the pouring rain had come down in a flash and chosen to love us for the first day.