Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fake Snowballs

I laid awake on the small, cramped couch, my feet sticking out of the three blankets I piled on top of my shaking figure, almost kicking the fake Christmas tree. I watched the digital numbers click steadily onward and as the weather threw Christmas rain drops at the windows. Face halfway between my pillow and a couch cushion, I thought of him in bed with her. Each time I blocked out the semi-dark with the permanent black of my eyelids, there they were: having mountain-men sex in my head, all over the pine needle covered forest, all pumping to the lyrics of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan that I loved and have scribbled everywhere in my notebooks, on top of my favorite blanket. It was blasphemous and beautiful, crude, and its everything that I and he ever wanted except it was here it was them, naked, not: me. I never wanted to gouge my mind’s eye out of its socket more. It isn’t the memory of “I love you” or the way he nuzzled my neck: the finding of every text he sent me just before we split, right around the time the conversation was sparse and he could hardly bargain anything but an “Oi! I’m sorry. Call you soon?” No, it is memories of sex in mosquito-ridden tents that kills me, in parking lots, in his bed. That, and ocean-filled kisses we exchanged over the fact that we promised we’d never be like those other couples, tossing a football over the shallow waves. In a lot of ways, we never were. In a lot of ways, that is what made this harder.

If it’s time for me to start being brutally (and I mean, brutally) honest with myself, then honestly comes with a continental lemon, salt, and a lofty price. The kind of price higher than any Anthropologie hand-sewn dress all patch-worked together somewhere in the back under the piano music and above the Indian floor cushions. The kind of price that today made me stare into the beautiful displays of clean white paper and plastic sculptured into a pristine, indoor, oil-heated winter and want only to lay in the display of fake snowballs and never get up again. Most confusing thing about my heartbreak, really, is that it isn’t like anyone else’s I’ve seen. It doesn’t come in waves and it sure plays an obvious game of hide and seek. There he is right in front of me. All photographed, smiling and happy, lips upturned in his permanent smile, his early crows feet locked in his hopeful squint. My head took that still shot, its still up there developing behind my forehead. Only life has taken the largest pair of scissors created and meticulously cut out his shape. Only his dim outline, the lake, and his canoe exist beyond the metal cutting away at his memory. His lack of a presence now becoming a dull throbbing just under my eighth layer of skin cells. All at once I want to write him a thousand letters explaining other people aren’t meant for each other, but we! We were crafted from the same tree, you see, carved with the same knife, and sewn with the same thread. I am the bristly bark, he is the soft chamber of collected rings. And there is the genius of the thing: you think we are nothing alike, but really, we are just different sides of the same sapling. Then I want to take those same letters all made of our tree and burn them all, so I could keep them from being true.

Because they aren’t true.

Just as you and I are not two sides of the same coin, missing you and wanting to forget you at the same time, is.

For months I have stared at my notebook, refusing to write, afraid of what might come out. Lately, I’ve been more prolific. Speaking of lately, I have been thinking deeply about the fact that I have always wanted someone to wear lacy underwear for. I know for a fact that I don’t look like someone who would own any, but maybe that is what makes the idea more tempting. But I would get some for him and he would think it cute rather than sexy because, well, I’m petite and that’s just the way these things work. When I say I have been thinking deeply about this, I mean that in the sense that I wonder what the deeper meaning of lacy underwear could possibly be, and why it is the first thing that comes to mind. Mental hilarity, of course, ensues.

You come to realize that after all this speculation and self-searching, heartbreak is really something ridiculous, poisionious, but ultimately: what could be more neccasary? How else would we build up a certain knowledge of ourselves and of other people, if it doesn't get to be converted into utter shrapnel and we have to start all over, rebuild it again? Thanatos complex aside, that's just it. Those moments when you just want to fall into a pile of fake snowballs, and stare up into the plastic icicles of yesteryear forever, wondering, "how can I ever be strong enough to feel happy again?": those moments, are when you begin to find a way.

1 comment:

J Holden said...

ryan elwood, i have said this many times before, but i am repetitive. i love your writing because it is as real as it gets.