Monday, March 31, 2014

led by the tail.

blissful distraction. writing is a beautiful day taking me by the hand, leading me somewhere better than where i am. and so i go, because that's all i am: blissful in distraction. i wish i could sustain it, all day, every day. or that's just what i say because it sounds lovely. i'm afraid bliss sustained is in danger of becoming average. what do i know.

recently, a friend posted a list of his favorite albums from a particular year, one from a band called sunny day real estate. all it took was the mention, and in the half-life of a blink i was gone. taken from a day in march 2014 and dropped off at the head of the dark, dirty stairway leading down to dark, dirty dr. john's bar in the hippie-fied sunnyside neighborhood of morgantown, west virginia, some night in the spring of 2000. dj's, as dr. john's was called, was situated underground, bearing the heaving bulk of combined buildings on that defining corner of university avenue and stewart street. atop dj's was a laundromat where i took my clothes when i lived with cockroaches and bad wiring on nearby quay street; a bar, whose name escapes me, where a band called the whiskey dicks dressed in prison jumpsuits and hosted a jello-wrestling match; a takeout joint called the rusted musket from which i never dared order, because whose appetite could be stirred by the vision of a rusty gun?; and atop all that, some hollow-looking apartments whose ancient windows, i imagined, created frigid caves in winter and sweltering tombs in summer.

in the spring of 2000, my hair was cut within an inch of its life. what i remember about this: there's no positive correlation between short hair and punctuality. not having any length of hairs to arrange was merely a gift of more time to waste elsewhere. late, i was. i am. it's a rule of being me, one not decreed intentionally but determined empirically. i accept it because i have better flaws to improve upon. my boyfriend at the time was late too. he had more hair than i had, but it was guitar strings, not hair strands, compelling his laxity. always playing or writing or thinking about playing or writing, he was. during one of our many breakups, he started twisting his hair into sections that stuck up like little teepees all over his crown. i liked his breakup hair. i didn't tell him, of course, because we weren't speaking. i'm not sure if i ever told him. i have a suspicion that i'm not adept at giving compliments. he still liked me too, mid-breakup. all of me, not just my short hair. he wrote songs about me that he shared when we put the magnets back into our hearts. it was syrupy, for a brief time. not one to indulge, i pushed myself away.

a little over 24 hours ago, i found out that another college boyfriend, the one after the one above, is on the verge of becoming a father. and here's the truth, which, in this case, should be tidied up before i open the doors to let everyone see, but instead i'm leaving it in its lived-in state: i wasn't entirely happy for him. i wasn't entirely unhappy either. of course, it's the not entirely happy part that matters. to me, or more specifically to my scarred, leathery heart, his joyful news was a backhoe, digging up the past, and there i was standing right underneath, looking upward as the dirt fell onto my face, into my eyes and my ears and my mouth. i spit and coughed and wiped it away. after some time, i knew from where my not entirely happy feelings arose: he and i could never get it right, and he moved on and did it the right way. and now he gets to wonder at her growing belly every day, and then he gets to be there the very second the thing he'll love more than anything, ever, for eternity, comes into this world. i moved on too, but i never got it right with anyone else. i admired my own growing belly and took pictures of it, by myself, because who else was there to do it? there was no anxious daddy there to comfort me when the doctor was slicing me open. the only words i recall were the doctor's, marveling aloud over the lack of body fat surrounding my belly. pregnancy was a joy for me in the ways my situation allowed, but when i see others who have an us, i feel a loss, one i didn't feel during the time it seems i should've. i feel fortunate for that; it would've been so much worse back then. so yesterday my long-gone love's joy became a reflection of my sorrow. i don't feel guilty for that. i feel human.

at some point in a life that has involved many failed relationships, it's hard to determine who's to blame for what, and it's hard to forget both the joy and the sorrow when you're reminded of either—and you will be, because memory sometimes chases its tail. it stops eventually, till the next time. everything is that way.

and i'm stopping here. till next time.