Sober History


Having one of those old-times evenings where we aren’t thinking about the day, or tomorrow, or anything but the meta. The big picture.  The idea of change.  The compelling issue that things are not as they might be, but there is a dog barking somewhere out in the parking lot, issuing this sounding cry, and it echoes out the open window next to me as cars rev and pass out into the big wide world and summer is on the horizon.   People murmur and I feel a hundred summers at once, both those I’ve lived and those I thought of living and those that I lived through movies.  Limoncello in Rome. Radio Free Roscoe.  The ride on Eldridge when I first realized I would be an independent person at some point, an expectation that has been both realized and foiled.

Of course I still think about you.  Of course, I’m frustrated as hell about it.  I might have teared up the other day in a spare moment when I let a fingernail loose from the wheel.  I don’t understand why you would decide to gaze upon my green-tinged face months later if you had broken us apart with some sort of vitriolic vow, a vow made solemn with silence.  Never to speak to me again, so offended or bothered or bored or bemused as you must have been.  What motivates any of this?

There is some part of me that thinks about the premise between As Time Goes By.  Judi Dench’s Jean Pargetter and Geoffrey Palmer’s Lionel So-and-So, a soldier and a nurse in love in the onset of World War II.  They are parted by that war and send letters to continue the romance until the letters stop being exchanged, both of them believing the other to no longer be interested or even alive to reply.  Lifetimes later, they meet again, and rekindle this passion they had for one another, changed by the lives they lead, forged in unique, ways great and small, but yet, still in love.

I don’t love him.  I didn’t, but on a night like this when you’re just twisting in the windless air, just spinning in the noose, you think, what the hell happened?  Like am I supposed to be bolder or braver or smarter, or just more willing to walk into the spinning blades to get this? Everyone I’ve half-explained this to, has said, oh no, honey, it’s been long enough.  He has my email.  I wrote this extensive, half-flirtatious, half-musing on the “winds of solitude roaring at the edge of infinity” sort of screed, checked back in…said life was happening, but writing back to me would be the reward.  Wrote another such letter, and nothing.  And yet, I get the notification that I should never have known and I feel like…what did I do?

This is the part in the romantic comedy where Rosie O’Donnell assures me that it’s not me, it’s all men, and we should have some pasta and watch another movie because there is no escape from the simulated realities that make up this one.

I held the dust of a soul once, held it far too long.  Now I am that dust and, windless, airless, settle on the surface of everything there is.

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