I wait for the blow. — But I’m older now. — It takes its time.
I keep thinking about my old roommate. We’d blast Tori Amos and fucking emote. We’d lay all our shit out there. 20-Somethings with nothing to prove. Back in NYC, we’d suck down fat joints and take swigs out of cheap bottles of red wine in our Alphabet City apartment. We fucking felt it. I’d play my guitar and she’d play her keyboard and we sang in a language we both understood. We’d look at each other and we just knew: It was all out there. — We made something.
My emotion hasn’t made anything in years. I’ve poured all my pain into cleaning kitchens — scrubbing out sinks. In my apartment of 3 1/2 years, I have nothing on the walls, save for the dried roses that hang from a smoke alarm, given to me by an ex on Valentine’s Day, years ago. — And, yes, I know. — Bad Feng Shui.
While I’m sure no one wants to hear it from a spry, 31-year-old — I feel fucking old. And, even though I’ve been diffusing citrus oils in my apartment to keep myself from having a psychotic break, I still expect the living room to stink like moth balls and old soup. If I didn’t work until 6PM, I’m certain I’d be eating dinner at 4:45PM every night.
Monday, I sat on my stoop crying. I dyed my hair red and, in the sun, it looks like my head is on fire. It feels that way too. I planted some seeds. I don’t care if they live through the summer or not. I just need something to set down roots. I need something that’s alive to break the surface. I’m tired of waiting for things to grow. And now, I have all this dirt on my hands.
I got an unexpected call from someone struggling with their sobriety. For a minute, I felt like a fraud. Hours before, I was thinking about picking up a bottle of bourbon, and, suddenly, I found myself describing all the things I do to keep myself sober — to someone else — like it’s nothing. Like it’s easy. I’m convincing. I told him — it’s worth it. That, I’m better for it. And, for a minute, I am. Better.
When I hang up the phone, the evening sun’s crept in through the window like my stalker. I’m still sitting in the same place. I haven’t run from the hurt yet. But, my mascara has, and I look like the poster for American Horror Story: Asylum. Sure enough, it’s 4:45PM, but, I won’t be hungry for dinner tonight. — The break-up diet is the world’s best kept secret. — You heard it here first.
I decide to snuggle up to the cat and play Tori Amos through the speaker. I channel a younger version of myself. I mourn her and all the feelings that, once, came to her so easily. I emote — sans my friend and the fat joint and the wine. I try to feel. And, this time, I don’t do it over a sink. But, I end up just talking myself in circles, trying to convince myself of something that isn’t true. I have never been a good liar.
So, to keep myself straight, I re-read my checklist:
- Drop off the key to his place.
- Drive directly home.
- Get on your knees.
- Pray for Jackie’s Strength.