Surrounded by generations of kindness and the warm sounds of her loved ones welcoming the impending joyful holiday season, she could only discern the sound of her own shadow whispering to let this be the last night she heard anything ever again.
She slipped out though the front door and stood on the porch. That long, creaky, but picturesque porch. It was the porch that basically sold them on the idea of making this particular slice of Suburbia their very own.
(more) The air was heavy with moisture. Within seconds of stepping foot outside, she could feel her skin becoming damp with sweat, likely ruining the face she had spent so long sculpting to perfection earlier in the day. The sound of cicadas sang through the woods surrounding the house, almost deafeningly so.
She sat on the stairs near the bottom of the porch, feeling a whisper of a breeze so soft and brief that it felt cruel. Her family sat behind the porch, within the walls of her home. She could hear the sounds from the television over the sounds of everything outside.
"They're oblivious," she thought. Then she said it out loud.
She closed her eyes and gave into the thing she avoided the most - letting her mind wander. It was dangerous to entertain dreams and memories. The toll was too great. The consequence too steep. Even still, she gave in without hesitation. A moment of weakness. A moment of hope. Oxygen. Life. Liberation.
She stood up, opening her eyes. Brushing away the few tears that had fallen, she shook off the intoxication of self indulgence. She walked to her car and climbed in, turning the keys in the ignition.
In that tattered up book I forgot in the backseat of your car
In the words of that Stones cover that you loved so much
In the smell of the river beside that old tree with the peeling bark
In the taste of that strawberry beer you always wanted(more) me to try
In the few seconds after you close your blue eyes and before the day goes black
I hope you think of me with a little ache
And a little sigh
And a little smile
And a little dream
I remember thinking that you probably didn't make much money when I saw your car. That modest, tiny white car that I would come to know so well. It looked lonely parked behind Starbucks that first night we met. We took my car instead, and the first thing yo(more)u noticed was Curtis Loew. I heard satisfaction in your voice when you saw me nod agreeably and pretend I didn't think you had the bluest eyes I'd ever seen. Your eyes were their own fucking galaxy and I wanted to look up into them forever.
A couple days in I climbed into that sad little mid 90's Saturn of yours. I didn't know about your money then. I didn't care. The inside smelled particular, but I couldn't place the aroma of "quality Kush" until you taught me to a few weeks later.
You drove responsibly and I liked that. We talked. Sparred. Laughed. Shared blissful reflective silence knowing we had just seen a glimpse of light at the end of the darkness we were both in. I didn't feel the weight of the wedding ring I had stashed in my pocket anymore. Willie Watson and his banjo crackled through your old, shitty Saturn speakers and for the first time in my life... I was new. (less)
Particularly mine, a life that has been lived in bits & pieces for those who could stomach them accordingly. One fragment for him. One for her. Two for the random stranger from Tennessee.
Living this way takes its toll. Before you know it you've(more) forgotten who knows what version of you and all you can remember is that no one really knows everything, & that is a unique brand of alienation and loneliness that I could never articulate in 3000 words, let alone 300.
Occasionally we're fortunate enough to meet someone that not only can't accept a customized approach, but demands more. Maybe that's more unfortunate than anything, because the loss of that quiet refuge is profound in such a way that it inevitably dissolves a few of the layers that held you together enough to get through the rest of it. I don't even remember what "it" is anymore.
Even though I'm grappling to accept the necessity of a life constantly looped in "buffering" mode, at least I get the small satisfaction of knowing that I'm just too damn complex for simplicity. Right? Ugh. Can you ever really lie to yourself about anything?
I could never lie to you. You always knew. How did you always know? I want to think you're laying on those fucking ugly plaid sheets right now and somewhere there is a tiny hint of my perfume that will remind you that you still know. I hope you find the pair of earrings I left in that cabinet with the records so you'd think about me after I was gone. I hope you notice the heart I drew with my finger on that dusty pair of boots in your closet.
Those were the first words out of my dad's mouth after he found out I'd been involved with a man who wasn't my husband. About a year prior to this blessed conversation, my husband had bedded a sweet little piece on(more) a business trip in between phone calls to me and out two year old. How she managed to miss my name tattooed across his chest remains a mystery, but no more mysterious than the elusive fuck I give about it now.
I'm not sure of the level of audacity my father had in that moment, but it was staggering. Had I evened the playing field?
He was air in my lungs. I just wanted to breathe in the smell of his skin every minute, like a drug. One drug of the many we did together. I would always tell him that his dimples would be perfect for me to eat cereal out of and he would always just flash his blue eyes my way, producing an involuntary physical response in my body. He took me everywhere - physically, emotionally, spiritually. Sexually. We drove across the United States together in a drug fueled haze of mutual obsession and Jerry Garcia playing out of the one speaker that actually worked in his car. We planned our happy rolling down the 51. He'd sing "Tupelo Honey" to me and ask me if I'd marry him. I'd always say yes.
In reality, my marital sin was far worse than my husband's could ever be. He had shared a night with another woman. I had shared my soul with another man.
Now all I have to share are these sacred memories in an anonymous format. I hope one day that can be enough.