At the end of a tunnel, there is a violent expulsion of air from the lungs. It’s my wish, escaping.
Alone tonight, my place in front of the computer feels both familiar and strange. The people I used to contact right now, in this sort of moment, they’re sort of inaccessible now. Relationships have shifted, contacts have changed. The reliable returned to the garden to breed some more, and my seeds are still waiting for the summer that I didn’t get to happen. Any minute now, I’ll be speeding toward a time of year the door opens and I answer the phone without feeling distracted by particles of over bit-mapped romance, but that minute is sixty seconds away and a week and a month and tomorrow. We all know that tomorrow is a trick question to a six year old, why should I be any different? My life playing on a theme, obviously I haven’t learned all there is to learn of this configuration. With all balance, there is flow. Especially flown in for me, an entire year.
In my head, I see a girl with her hair wild above her, like fire crackling. Her eyes are barely open. Her hands are flat in her lap and the ominous piano wires from the ceiling are only connected to the very base of each of the legs of the wooden chair she sits in, not to her bones. Her feet are crossed, her toes are pointed, as if she’s remembering the crucifix. Her clear plastic skin reminds me of candy, cloudy and violet, they used to taste like flowers, but they don’t sell them anymore here. When her eyelids finally slide open, you can smell smoke. Smoke like on the edge of an ocean, late at night and haunting guitar, he used to love me, that boy, what went wrong, his name is written in the song that’s playing closer to the fire, the gold of her hair is glinting off the body of the machine.
When I use the word “ex” as a label, I, too, think of marriages, and don’t apply it to four in the morning when my tongue speaks a language I didn’t think I knew and he rolls over and touches me, warm hands sweeping my hair out of my eyes, telling me that I’m just as important to him as I ever thought I was, but right now is separation. When morning comes, we will be comfortable, but we won’t wear that ring anymore. Instead our story will be that of something akin to lovers but not quite. A salty breeze of underneath my thighs and in between my hating what he did to me, hating myself for continuing to let him mean something to me. A thickly spoken need he coats our every solitary moment with, a dream of pretending that I didn’t break at his ethical funeral. When I use the word “ex”, I mean to describe the man who never went a week without wearing the colour red, the man who made me scream out gouts of velvet cloth in bed, who I held hands with for a stretch of time that looks like three years, that looks like a tiny piece of history that made me who I am. We stripped naked once and took pictures in the kiddy pool on our porch, the amused expression on my face is one I haven’t seen since. I still think the neighbors didn’t see. Consequence of fortitude, the man with cello hair and I don’t have anything like that. We never had a marriage, only an impending debt that has yet to be paid. Instead I refer to him as on probation, as unfinished business, as lifting my eyebrows to say he’s yet to keep up with my spit when I want twenty white knuckles.
For a little while, this place might have read like an S.O.S. call. Deaths piling up together, a one hundred foot calm declaration of pain, until everything from early May was a mass grave, covered over by news of the weird and breakthroughs in pretty science. Glitter thrown into the air, obscuring the disease, blowing away whenever the wind pursed chilly lips to smash me into another devastating reef. I would like to think it’s changing. That natural evolution is swinging me back onto my feet, pouring water into the desiccated personality I became over summer. That recent advances in emotional medicine are evident in the words I spill here and understood to be welcome scabs over the profoundly deep well of misery that laps and erodes at my foundations. I’m beginning to taste how I used to be. The line isn’t drawing as thin between me and living, my spirit is finding a way to return from the misery land of departed teeth.