It Arrives

It arrives again, that old weight washing over me. I’m not often lonely, but this evening it has a vise around me.

Around me, my apartment shows serious neglect. The mess is amplifying the misery. I should have gotten up from the sofa to make dinner hours ago. Instead I chose to eat a piece of lunchmeat and some fruit snacks around 6 pm.

Things will not stay this way. Soon, my back will heal, my heart will follow. Very soon, I will start dating the gym again, invest in those black out shades for my bedroom I keep putting off getting, start my ukulele lessons, all the things I need to do to take care of myself.

I always prevail.

But I’m allowed to let sadness take over tonight. Tomorrow I will chase it off with a broom.

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Night Geography

The empty side of the bed is what undoes me, has me scratching at the open landscape of the bedsheet, tracing masochistic maps from here to there.

I shall make the center of the bed my new home.

Begin Again

The day you leave I put on a white dress and sit false daisies over my crown so that when you think of me later, you will remember me in white. I have a notion that this image will seep into you and I will be the memory that wins. I will loom large in your miserable memories of Chicago, the only circle of light.

I don’t need to put on the white dress or pull the daisies over my crown because I have already succeeded in being remembered this way. You have told me that I peeled back your layers, that you’ve never felt safe with any one else, that I saved your life, your manic pixie dream girl. I have helped you see that life is a grand and beautiful story that the stars design and author with us all.

You’ve asked me to come with you to Portland multiple times, where you say life will be made entirely of candy floss.

You say that because of your excellent new job, I wouldn’t have to work right way, maybe not even for a year. What could be better than being a librarian in the land of Beverly Cleary, my personal goddess? And who knows what would happen in a year? We could have dandelion haired babies, three, you suggest, though you’re frightened of passing on your genes to anyone. We would have a pug named Pig and two bulldogs named Mewtant and Mootant. We would be safe and we would be warm. Winter doesn’t come to Portland, not really.

It’s a delicious little dream, once I hold in my palm and admire to distraction, but don’t bother studying.

We both know I won’t go.

The day you leave I wake up next to you and cry out in pain, my back contorted in a fierce knot after the stress of such a horrible week has finally caught up with me. Later, I lay gingerly back on my fainting couch barefoot in the white dress, trying to ignore the pain and read Loose Woman, the spring breeze stirring the room through my window. I know the poems by heart, so I mostly just stare at the text as you work behind me at the table, making last minute arrangements for the move.

It is too sunny.

I stare alonedom in its face as I skim “Thing In My Shoe”. I was alone for such a short time in my pretty little first apartment before you came into the picture. I am good at being alone, and relish it, but today it hurts to look at. Today I am not particularly interested in being brave, and I know this is okay. But I’d like to feel strong and in control, return to conversations with myself, depend on my own hands and hours. Be good at it again.

You leave to go to the car. You’ll be right back for the dreadful thing we must do together, the thing we don’t want to face. I run my eyes over poems absently.

“This me that is me that is mine all mine” whispers Sandra from the page

And I breathe in, get up when you return, cry with you at my front door, wet the front of your red shirt, the tear stains burgundy, kiss your knuckles, say the right things: “I don’t say goodbye, I say thank you, ” and “You are not losing me, we are just changing,” because we will still be friends and call each other Piggy and Moo and Pugsly, you’ll just be there and I will be here.

You linger. I finally nudge you away, exhausted with this feeling. My last image of you is hearbreaking, your eyes swimming, a pause in your step but it is still a step away, away.

I crumple against the closed door for a few minutes, until I’ve heard you blow your nose down the stairs, you pass through the courtyard. I sit on the sofa and blink around me at this sun-filled room like I’m seeing for the first time. This return to me myself that is mine is overshadowed by the growing pains that are assaulting me.

I spend the rest of the day at the chiropractor, in a block long line to see Sandra Cisneros at the Mexican art museum without getting to see her, in a broken bundle in my parents bed that they forfeit to my pain and quiet grief. I miss you already, badly. Every time I eat I get sick, my middle seizing on itself. This misery continues into the next day, sending me home from work after three hours.

But the next day, I bake olive bread that I must knead three times, which feels like a special and magic number that will save me, and I light a fresh candle.

This is the day I begin again.

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Home

I’ve lived alone for a little over two weeks. A lot has gone down since my first night here: spiders and greasy cabinets and broken bicycles and I don’t know how to properly open a bottle of wine, oh my!

But mostly, it has been this: open windows, flowers in tea tins, berries in bowls, walls of books, organic butter, personal bottles of wine, delicious moments of wonder at this sanctuary

Home

Friday was good medicine.

Reasons why it’s amazing seeing a concert alone:

You can slither into small spaces without worrying about anyone else. I ended up in the very front, even after getting lost and barely making it on time. I have never been that close to any band, ever.

You can dance like a fool, you are a dot in the crowd.

Your agenda is the only agenda. Want to use all of your drink tickets at once and guzzle four plastic cups of wine one after the other? You can. Want to leave? You choose the path home.

While I tipsily drank in the sweet bluegrass taste of the Punch Brothers, who were on first, a sunbeam broke through the gray, and breeze relieved some of the heat, and I sucked in my own company. I was overwhelmed by a feeling of peace and terror and peace and freedom.

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They left the stage with my heart, and the crew began setting up for Edward Sharpe. Two minutes after they finished setting up the massively large assortment of instruments the Magnetic Zeroes use, the sky opened in typical schizophrenic Chicago fashion, and waterlogged the entire audience in the space of ten minutes. I shared my umbrella with three others near me, my right side getting soaked to the skin.

After extra time the crew needed to dry off the drenched stage, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes lit the stage with all their whimsical charm, and I was enveloped by the joy all around me. I was so close, when Alex and Jade came off the stage to woo the audience, they sang three inches from me. During “Home,” Jade told the audience to hug the stranger next to them. I hugged the quiet guy next to me, who was also there alone. I saw him change when they came on stage, drink in what they created just like I was.

EDSHARPEEDWARDSHARPEJADE

I realized I could do this alone, for real. I can turn an empty apartment into a home, I can find my way back to myself, that original me who swam somewhere in the river of stars we all swim in before we’re born, the original me who had faith in life and her being. I can learn to find a home in this body and mind and space, and I can thrive.  Not in theory or wistful hoping, but it could be mine, in living color.

How To Go To A Concert Alone

I have a deep, ardent love for the progressive bluegrass group the Punch Brothers. I could live and subsist entirely in and on the mandolin solo at 2:38 in “Missy”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKOw4cxMEMM

I have almost as deep a love for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. Tonight, they are playing TOGETHER in downtown Chicago at the World’s Largest Block Party.

I had a moment of gloom and resignation when I found out this concert was happening, though. Going to social functions alone is something most people avoid. I admit it’s my first thought when making most plans – who will come with me? The only friend I have who would be interested in coming to this show lives in Louisville. I also don’t have anyone I anticipate would have had the extra 40 dollars laying around to pay for a ticket to see musical artists they don’t know anything about. I’ve purposely chased off all men interested in me due to my own demons and desire to do this next part of my life alone. I’m on my own.

I hovered with my finger over the mouse, staring at the screen and deciding if I should press purchase.

Alone. Alone. I am alone. The strange, quiet grief of it, even though I wanted and made it this way. I swallowed.

I’m marching full force into a life living alone just next week. I have to be brave. I have to let go of the stigma even I still have about people who do things alone. And it’s the PUNCH BROTHERS and EDWARD SHARPE.

I bought the ticket.

So I’m going to kick off this new chapter of my life this way tonight  – alone in a sea of strangers, a drink in my hand, the skyscrapers a swirl around me, and the music giving me strength.

Before I Go

I’m not alone, not yet.

I will be soon. My apartment is available to me in about a week. I’ve got a treasure trove of mostly impractical home goods (pig-shaped mini egg pan with matching mini spatula? Check. Oink.) that I’ve been collecting for over three years in anticipation for this event. My parents’ living room is piled sky high with all my darling little nonsensical trinkets in wine boxes I snatched from the restaurant I pseudo-work at on the side. I haven’t even begun on my actual room.

Alonedom. Is that a word?

Alonedom. What is it that terrifies us about it? Are we bound by something written in our cores that needs for people to be around to validate us? To survive? Procreate? Probably. But there is something very delicious I know I can have when I have no choice but to face myself. I know it in my bones. Something will release itself from me. I won’t be caged anymore by whatever it is that tells us all we aren’t adequate. I will learn to become my own best friend, but for reals. I will finally have the space to depend on only me. This drive for independence has fueled me for years. Why it was born in me, a naive scaredy cat who was too nervous to live on campus in college or brave many social functions in my youth, well, that’s for me to tell you bit by bit.

Here are some things I’m nervous about:

I will run out of money.

I will run out of toilet paper.

I will become an SVU case because I live alone and that means I will definitely be stolen or raped. I watch excess amounts of SVU.

I will get sick of myself.

I will hoard too many books.

Spiders.

Centipedes.

Ghosts.

 

 

 

 

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