the place was a dump...holes in the walls, gaps in the scratched up hardwood floor, the stairway that led to a sealed-off wall, the stained brown kitchen carpet left over from the 80s. when i moved in i found a nick cave cassette in the bookcase in the living room, which was painted chartreuse. mom and i painted the bedroom turquoise, and i painted the furniture a purple-ish pink. my dad could hardly believe i would live in such a place. i kinda loved it, though. especially in winter bc, of all things, my little dump had a wicked heating system.
on many snowy days that year, i would pass my icicles on the way to the bakery around the corner, where my ex-boyfriend of around 3 years worked. i'm pretty certain i squealed with little-kid-like joy on days when the minivan moms hadn't gotten to the pumpkin scones first...it had to be them, bc who else gets up that early. though it was a 60-second walk to the bakery, on the very coldest mornings i would still wear my extra warm, full-length black puffy coat with the orange lining. when the bells on the door announced my arrival, my ex would come out of the kitchen...'sup, how you doin'...in his slightly congested-sounding voice. he would have on loose-fitting jeans, new balance shoes, and two short-sleeved tshirts. i asked him once why he wore two, because he always did. i can't remember his answer. i'm sure i poked fun at him, regardless. cause when you like someone, you laugh at their idiosyncrasies. it's cute.
he was a quirky guy. the creative soul usually is. when he sang, during certain parts he would close his eyes and purse his lips, its corners upturned slightly as if he were thinking something pleasant. i remember that expression precisely from a particular show, the one where his band played the beginning of a radiohead song before starting their set. he played a yellow-orange-ish starburst guitar that may or may not have been a les paul. he explained something particular about its manufacturing to me once, but i don't remember. he talked a lot. so do i. two talkers do not make two good listeners, i've found. he got the guitar from his dad, who i met once and who did not act interested in my presence one bit. i was miffed, i think. but the guitar was beautiful. when he would play, i'd listen very closely so i wouldn't miss the teeny, scratchy fret noises. i read somewhere that fret noise is an unintended effect. i like those.
the last time i heard him sing, i barely paid attention. it was in the midst of our longest off-period...we were off as much as we were on. except this time i had preoccupied myself with another boy who was preoccupied with cheating on his girlfriend. it was september. i was driving through campus in my old tan camry with the jesus fish on the back. it had been my mom's car. i'd tell her, "ma, how am i supposed to pick up men with this fish back here?" and she would laugh. that afternoon, right in front of white hall where i'd nearly failed geology 7 years earlier bc i bought a biker jacket with my book money, the singer walked up to my window and handed me a show flyer. it was covered with "come see me, dmc" in sharpie in his severely slanty, pointy handwriting. i still have it somewhere.
the singer and i got back together, maybe that night. i can't recall. i left him in january. though really it was september that took me away. it wasn't for the other boy. and it wasn't bc the singer had sent me off too many times. it was...timing? or time? i'm never sure. i'm sure it doesn't matter, though.
it took years for us to become friends. even longer for me to realize how i appreciate him...not miss him, not lament our ending in that "one that got away" sense. i don't believe that exists anyway. if you let something get away, it's bc you don't want it. i like to think pumpkin scone days were good for the singer and i, a mending of sorts. a return to the niceties of knowing each other. he always got a kick out of the way food made me so happy, or how it so disappointed me when my cravings went unsatisfied. it was cute.
on one of those bakery trips, as i passed the icicle on the left front corner of the porch, i told myself i should write about it. particularly the way it looked at night, when the street light would suffuse it with blue or pink, depending on which car was parked nearby. it didn't happen that way. it happened this way. an unintended effect.