Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Started out Good & then Went to Hell

It’s the end of the year and everyone is rushing around trying to fix their lives by midnight. We’re all checking off to-do lists and trying to lose 10 pounds before the ball drops, marking the end of another year and asking what we have to show for the last 365 days.

Between old resolutions and new the hours in a day don’t seem worth it anymore. The year feels tight and by December most of us are feeling so claustrophobic we’re afraid to go to bed.  We regret the most particular things; a cupcake we ate on St. Patrick’s Day, spending $20 on a shall we only wore twice {but looked so good in}, 2 tickets to a Bills game we never went to - the list goes on until our regrets have become this year’s resolutions and we’re reciting them in front of the mirror on the last Thursday in December.  We’re talking to ourselves and driving down one ways, the wrong way, tweezing our eyebrows in traffic.

In my old apartment I would sit on the floor in-between the coffee table and couch and write the same way I do here, in this new apartment that is now mine. But here the walls are smaller except there are more of them, and the hallways feel wider and I feel smaller but my legs are cramping and my arms still can’t stretch out fully. 

My memories are different here.  You’ve been here but I don’t like to remember it. We’ve slept in my bedroom but after you left, I had to paint the walls and move the furniture to try and forget you. It got so bad that I started leaving my window open at night and shiver beneath blankets so your smell will be pushed out. I wake up and am greeted by the door you walked out of. The door I let you walk out of. I'm constantly reminded that there will never be a you & I: it’s just a you and then a me. Separate entities.

I’m choking on my coffee and that brings me back to reality. With only a few days left of the year, this is how I’ll go – death by my pumpkin spice.  Everything I was just dwelling on seems less important as I gasp. Elaina is laughing and I’m signaling for help but she doesn’t move.  It is moments like this that I wonder if she’d let me die if I was choking on a chicken bone and not a liquid. 

I’m writing prose on my walls, on my bathroom mirror and my dashboard. This year I’m going to change, I’m going to fix my shitty posture and paint my nails every day. I’m going to forget all about your soft expression. This time I am writing declarations not resolutions. And this time, I'm telling Elaina they will stick. I tell her that they say desperation leaves us empty and hollow. He told me it made him crazy, it left his soul in his gut and his pockets empty. Elaina says it was Global Warming that sent us all up a wall this year. I say it was the fact that I wore the wrong shoes on our first date.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Truth

In New Jersey just outside Paramus, three people were trampled outside of a JC Penny midnight madness sale, the woman who’s son was taken to the hospital,  told reporters “ I got this sweater for 14.00, originally 47.50…. what a steal!”

She only held it up for the cameras after offering to try it on.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rest Stops

The same way the roads unite us, they pull you away from me. I head south, you head east- when we almost could cross paths again along Route 83 in Pennsylvania I move through the night slowly and you wake up to wonder where have you been and where I have gone.

On 95 heading north, you stop at a rest stop near Norfolk, it's dark but it feels like morning. A man is drinking coffee and reading a newspaper as he stretches his back from left to right, to left to right. His beard looks dirty, it's graying in spots so vividly that you can not decide if its the shade growing in or the shade being consumed. Watching him, time passes but the sun doesn't come up.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Heal, Toe

Everything has never been this exciting and this terrible at the same time. My tongue is numb but so is my head and the empty hollowness echoes while I try to sleep keeping me awake until dawn. I drift off only to wake up groggy in cold sweats, clutching pillows as if they were life vests- as if feathers and cotton could save my life the way the perfect shade of Perfectly Pink has saved so many first dates.

Distraction is the best medicine for a shattered soul. I tell her that staying busy is the only option. Elaina counters that rest will keep me alive. That my body is literally crying for it. I tell her to grab a brush, I’m painting my room, I’m pulling up carpeting and paining over old picture frames. Boy Meets World is playing in the back ground and it’s the season Topanga and Corey break up, he's saying true love conquers all. I’m slopping paint against walls as tears drip into the bucket.

A heaviness has taken over that I can not shake. From across the room Elaina is telling me that my expression gives me away immediately. My face is so drawn she has to stop herself from coming over and hugging me to make sure I am warm.

I run along East Avenue in the evenings, making a left on Goodman and I head towards Monroe Avenue and jog past the Park Bench, past Church Street Pub, the wind whips against my thighs and it stings. My heart is pumping against my chest and I'm still alive. I can feel the life in my bones.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

642 Miles Later

It’s not July but the road is familiar and the air is warm. I find myself with the windows down, counting mile markers along route 15 and thinking about the winters that have past and the winters that are waiting for me. I am wondering about the people in Massena and if they are happy and if I will ever be happy in the simple way I saw them that day.

At mile 200 my breathing has caught up with my heart beat and I have a faint curiosity about if you’ve woken up yet and who you are next to. I still see you sitting across from me retelling a rehearsed story, as honest as I'd accept you to be but still completely exposed.
I once said, “I want to know you in a way I would never let you know me.”  As true as my words were then, they are more so true as I cross state lines and it begins to snow. The silence of snow brings about a foreign calmness that I have not felt since I stood on the steps of Adams Street in a sea of black and white and pink.  

I listen to talk radio and pretend I am in the studio, driving past small towns, I am being interviewed and hear myself telling strangers through the airwaves “I thought he had actually killed me, but I just kept driving”.

The End
It was cold for the middle of October and I didn’t wear a coat. I had forgotten how unforgiving the wind can be when you live by the water. You tried to fix everything before you left; the sign on top of the window that I couldn’t reach, the parking lot that wasn’t big enough for my car, the leaky faucet in my bathroom that flooded my tub. You suggested two cheap, but decent, bottles of wine that I will never drink.
I called to tell you thank you and I know this voice-mail will be listened but I also know  you will never hear me. Thank you for the color yellow, wind in my hair & blueberry wheat beer and for reminding me I truly am flawed if not free. I’m sorry all you learned was how to make a decent mimosa and that wet leaves are just as dangerous as black ice.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


It's Tuesday and we're drinking a Bloody Mary at a bar in Denver International Airport waiting to board our flight home. She says, as we're watching the tarmac for incoming planes, "Man, this state is flat."

And I say, "I can drink to that." And we do.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You can go Back

I've watched him dance his way through crowded bars with strangers who became friends, who turned into best friends. All before dawn, I have become enthralled and grown tired of these very same people. He's promising a lifetime of passion and adventure, all the while knowing there's nothing he enjoys more than falling asleep with an entire bed to himself.

My legs have been dragged across 365 miles of highway that I don’t remember until I’m back with my foot against the accelerator.

 I still don't know where the journey and destination came into question- but it's clear that one would not survive without the other.

I went because I was invited, because I was scared more of going back than going anywhere else. The same feeling that five years early pushed me west had pushed me south. And when I think back now at the options I agonized over then, I take comfort in knowing that so far, all decisions have led to a good life- to the good life.

Monday, August 29, 2011

It was Hot & there was no Wind

We all went from having one life to live, to bracing ourselves for the end. We began drinking and driving, sleeping with strangers and telling off our bosses and best friends. With no time left, we couldn’t stop ourselves from telling everyone exactly how we felt two years ago when they spilled that cranberry and vodka on our beige suede love-seat.

We broke up with our boyfriends and girlfriends sighting the need to be free now that the end was not just coming, but was here. The dogs slept on the bed, nestled in blankets filling up the empty space. We wanted to be free, but not alone.

Two blocks from my house the looting at a Toys R Us was so bad that parents began using their children for protection. But no one saw the promise in our youth now that the world was in shambles, now that hurricanes and earthquakes were literally blowing us off our shaking foundation.

The tiny armor was useless. The future was about to be over.

I lied awake that night listening to the evacuation sirens telling us to go anywhere, but also nowhere. I tried to sleep but the sky was filled with thick hail that beat against the roof until holes broke through and created the sky lights we always talked about installing. News reports blared from the living room with nothing to say except “this is the end." The hope from their voices felt more like a promise than a threat.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

112 Main Street

The summer that 22 people died from heat exhaustion on the east coast before August 1st, was the same year I drove 450 miles to say goodbye to a person I barely knew.

As the sweat pooled around the back of my knees I couldn't get the tiny yellow-shingled apartment out of my head. The heat index reached 115 before noon; all I could remember was the month we spent with no air conditioning, sitting on the roof watching the pavement sizzle. The fans blew hot air against our faces and your bangs stuck to your forehead.

Everywhere the heat was making people crazy. Not the put a leash on your cat and take her for a run crazy; the getting married and buying homes with central air crazy. Couples started trading in their vacation homes for summer camps and family reunions, claiming that now was the time to start appreciating one another.

The 11 o'clock news reported on drowning victims swallowing salt water to stay hydrated- fathers openly wept on camera. These images should have broken our hearts, but the heat barreled down so hard that no one could feel anything. We walked around numb.

That's around the time people started saying “I love you” when they actually meant “get away from me”. None of us wanted to be alone if this was the end, because holding a strangers hand is better than reaching out to empty space. At least that's what the statistics proved; the new baby boom would hit that coming spring. Articles were written questioning if the new Summer of Love was upon us- Could it be- had the heat saved humanity?

When I made it to your parents’ house I was greeted by the same light house that welcomed me some 5 years before. It stood creating a shadow on the lake, cooling off the sand just enough to make it bearable for visitors and a little too cool and crowded for the locals. The beach below was littered with bodies and empty towels, sitting on the pier all I could feel was sweat as I watched the people sizzle.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Star Spangled

By Monday afternoon it's actually the Fourth of July but we all seem a little less patriotic and a little more burned out. What’s left of the sparklers have all drowned in the pool and they look meek; now water damaged, the level of danger has escaped them.

We’re all craving sleep and salads, and mango tea with antioxidants to help our bodies detoxify. I’m begging for a couch with a recliner built in, but all I can find is a bench swing so I’m texting you telling you I miss you. I mean to say I miss your comforter and pillows but I know you are part of the package. You don't notice the difference in my tone, or if you do, you choose not to acknowledge it. I continue to complain, you continue to ignore.

To a stranger, this looks more like a battlefield than a backyard. Six of us are sprawled out on towels across the patio with a handful of empty beer cans cradling our red bodies. We’re not sun kissed or sun tanned yet, but here’s to hoping we all agree. Anyone in the grass is risking lying in vomit - we keep saying vomit and laughing like it’s both the best and funniest thing we’ve ever heard. Some of actually do vomit during the conversation.

With my head against the concrete I'm thinking about how I could be happy with less: less work, less scheduling, less time spent trying to find a moment to breathe and actually just breathing. Thinking all of this is making dizzy or the lack of alcohol is making me dizzy or the clouds going too fast for my eyes is making dizzy.

I start to remember the details; they are hazy but there: you walking up the driveway in a bright yellow t-shirt the first day we met- me in black pants and a white flowery button up shirt with a white belt sitting above my waist. I had on black wedges too, but they flew off my feet into the bushes while you spun me around. Your smile was something that people have called infectious.

I can't find my shoes when I finally leave the party, but I'm also not convinced I had any shoes to begin with. (You’ll say that I argued the same point with you in the past and that I lose a lot of shoes. I admit to nothing.) There's a dog barking down the street and I take the East Street route home to make sure it’s okay. After a few blocks, I get tired and sit on the curb and watch the heat rise off the pavement.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thin Lines

You now worry that if you both develop narcolepsy who will set the alarm before bed? And if sweater dresses go out of style- what will you do with all those leggings in the closet? How will you cope with wearing jeans and shirts that stop at your midriff or don’t have hemlines? The thought of wearing a belt that doesn’t sit on your hips is something you are not mentally ready to accept. So you stay awake for the sunrise trying to decide which is more important: a green scarf or a pair of yellow peep-toe flats. They both can not fit in the overnight bag that is going to save your life.

Driving to Seneca Lake the towns remind me of a trip we took to Massena. When we stop, I want to ask other people if they agree. The small lanes of cross traffic make me feel calm at stop lights as people take their time getting from one side of the street to the other. I wonder if they’ve ever sat at the stop sign on US-11 confronted with a sign for Lake Placid and one for County Route 15. Part of me wants to know which way they chose. Part of me is only curious about where you have been. I don’t ask either- about the signs or roads.

Even though it's March, your bones beg for warmth but you're not interested in trying to cover the outcome of running 37 miles a week on an empty stomach. Instead, you sit shivering at your desk, sucking your stomach against the back of your rib cage. The words from your boss travel through your brain like your breathing patterns- Breathe, hold, breathe -repeat. That’s how the nine to five routine became a 9 to 5 dress size.

I don’t watch the Price is Right anymore but last week, while repacking my overnight bag, I caught the show case showdown and saw it was Drew Carey hosting. The entire scene made me feel uncomfortable, like I was cheating on Bob Barker while listening to someone else encourage me to neuter my pets. It is things like not being able to depend on game show hosts to stick around that keep me up at night. If that doesn't same something about America's phobia to commitment then I don't know what does.

I have always had an uncanny ability to tell a convincing story. And as I watch you dance around a calculated and practiced truth, I question your sincerity with a raised eyebrow. In your version of the story, I did all this only to have you wipe your own sweat on my forehead as proof that you were in fact real, and there- 100%. You tell me that if nothing else, I am able to bend the truth with such finesse that you not only find yourself believing my worldly fiction but convincing others of it too. I say, "You remember things I don't."

I feel better when later in the week I learn that he was once a marine, but that doesn't mean I don't have my doubts about Drew Carey being able to convince me to get my pets neutered.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Erie Canal

A time that feels long ago but really isn’t, I am sitting on the back of a motorcycle with my white knuckles digging into the driver. I'm yelling "faster!" over the motor and into his ear. I remember that at the time I can’t tell if he is scared too, but I know as he turns around to give me a thumbs up my grip is going to tighten.

The same time that I am picturing also includes an early morning along the canal with fishing poles sitting idly as the morning haze burns off. A time when none of us had jobs or furniture that matched and we lived with camping chairs and ate spider dogs by open fire. What people called getting by was what we thought of as living the life.

On the beaches of Tampa that time is coming back. The scene is playing out like a modern day Normandy and the soldiers coming at me are crispy 20-somethings invading the coastal battlefield. They are armed with surf boards and protected by ray bans; barefoot as they trample through the sand you want to join them, you want to learn from them and be taken prison in this lifestyle.

I lie across the sand while I take lessons from these warriors as they teach me to not agonize over life’s left turns. Here, Robert Frost has been taken literal and they are living his words. I can not stress where I am going or where I should plan to go because the pressing matters revolve around tan lines and the threat of raccoon eyes.

There are no questions about where you belong when the most calm and clear waters are beckoning you. Saying no is not an option and after just a few hours you learn the sun is infectious. The attitudes are that of people nestled not crammed between hundreds of your soon-to-be best friends, all applying tanning oil instead of SPF50. And so I don't feel so out of place when I wish aloud for UV rays to work faster.

The heat isn't how I remember it last summer, all the complaints I owned so righteously have turned into one long smile across my now sun-kissed face. I find myself embracing the thick heavy air as I step outside, sucking the humidity deep into my lungs.

That same feeling, which again doesn’t feel so far away, hits as beads of sweat form on my forehead while I sip coffee on the steps: this is how it always is or has been.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Forum

The problem with trying to love a writer doesn’t surface until you realize that to them are you a character. The subtlety of their lessons are exposed when you try flattery- You learn that all the imaginative words you come up with will sound forced when you read them later on. You’ll be embarrassed by how naive and open you were with someone so critical.

My mother use to call it lying; when I would twist the facts of a story as I re-told it. I called it creativity. Later, in college, I learned that a good writer is always editing and revising the details of what actually happened until they find a truth they are happy with. However you look at it… lying, being creative, or revising… once you cross over into the life of a writer you are never the same. You will find yourself lost inside a catalog full of the strongest convictions you've ever heard being negated over and over.

When you meet, it happens on page 125. The season is fall and that’s what you tell your friends. She tells you that it's the best season because apple picking is one of her favorite things to do. She wins you over with a story about how she has to taste at least one apple from each tree before she commits to picking from it. This way, she doesn't risk getting home and hating the taste of all her hard work. She finishes the story by adding that it was true, and describes herself at 7 year old holding a bag of tasteless apples. She pictures you, picturing her as a child and your smile gives you away. That’s what she puts down.

Following her example, you learn to appreciate pumpkin patches and before you know it, you’re drinking apple cider out of a jug. You have no idea where the jug came from, but you don’t ask. You’re happy. You even catch yourself stepping on leaves and listening to the crunch as your heel then toe, then heel then toe presses down on your way to work. She pictures you doing this, thinking of her and chuckling to yourself- she sees it. She creates your movements.

By November, you learn that the weeks between fall and winter are her arch nemesis. Something has crushed her heart but you can't find what. If you knew better, you would jump to page 32 and discover before you were introduced, she knew a man who was born in November that broke her heart. All of this was very quick- the relationship did not last the chapter. You read that all that remains of this man is an email kept behind a picture in her living room.

On page 145, when you look for the email, you discover it doesn’t exist. It’s not until you are surrounded by disassembled frames and broken glass do you turn to page 75 when she burns all her past love letters as a way to start fresh.

What’s happening here is that you are learning you never had a chance. Before you can get the words from your mouth she’s already written them down how she wants to hear them. She will have written you in and out as fast as you can say “I love you.”

And that is when you realize that the problem with loving a writer is that they know before you when you love them. They've described the pain you feel when they leave a room so vividly that you find yourself crying at night. While you lay in bed alone craving her warmth, you do not remember missing her at that moment, but the feeling is so sudden you are overcome with emotion and cannot stop yourself from weeping. She pictures this, you wrapped up in blankets of scent sleeplessly lying in bed, and she adds it in.

If you’re lucky, on page 324 she’ll refer to you in passing and you will notice its you by characteristic only – “I once knew this guy who would always get up for karaoke after 3 beers. He sang the same annoying Lady Antebellum song off key, but knew all the words perfectly. What was the name of that song?” She’ll add that she can’t remember your name, but focus most of the paragraph on the name of the song. Sometimes, you want to call her and let her know the song was not even by Lady Antebellum.

On page 63, she is telling someone “I hate apples- always have, always will... I have a weak stomach and the skin gets stuck in the spaces between my teeth.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Far & Wide

The fear people have is so intense and sincere that it scares those around them. It scares people who know the people that are around those who came face to face with the inevitable. You find yourself rethinking the decision to not take the new job in Minnesota and checking your blood pressure before your coffee in the morning. Jogging more. Laughing more. You are thankful that whoever they are, isn't you; because there is no boogie man after you face death. There are only blood clots, fevers that lead to hallucinations and cold sweats that haunt you.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


My glasses make things more blurry, but I wear them because the sting of fresh air to my eyes reminds me that I am a living being. The same way the biting the inside of my mouth when I want to scream makes things seem less incredulous from 9 to 5.

Spring is not upon us, but the rain is. The thunderous shouts from the sky have me surrounded. But I’m not trying to hide, I am ready to embrace the noise, to feel it as a vibration strike through me, because I've come to accept that silence no longer equals serenity. The calming quiet I dreamt of did not deliver. I created a calm that would engulf me but in reality it was flat.

Today, I don’t know if I’m coming or I’m going. I find myself spinning in circles in my living room before I can walk out, half slamming the door then hearing my phone ring in the kitchen. The to-do lists are mounting but every day it’s the same. It’s all cross off then add on, it’s all folding laundry and fake tanning. Where's the real sun to warm me on a Thursday afternoon when I'm living on the cusp of the seasons.

Serenity is found in the bottom of my sock draw where an original copy lives. The only person who has the true original lives 435 miles from this copy. They do not know the original is in their possession, but really, does anyone truly appreciate when they have something authentic anyway?

Part of me believes the original is in the garbage. Buried under take out menus and fast food containers; pushed beneath birthday cards and junk mail lies my masterpiece. And that's all it does, it lies.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


When the end is near, and then over, you always think about the beginning. You find yourself losing your train of thought during rush hour doing a steady 75 back to the day you met.

Or, back to the day you fell off your coffee table and onto his lap as he liked to call it. Back to the time you climbed through his window, tripped over his computer and crashed to the floor on the other side. Back to the hot pink-polka dot togas you wore on the lawn of Adams Street, where you made a pact to stay in yours if he stayed in his. Back to 10am, December 14th, 2006 clutching a red plastic cup and munching on a piece of bagel crust he made you eat. Back and back and back… You go back, even if you try not to, you do it. We all do. All these introductions add up until the list is so dizzying it takes you days to get through.

Sometimes, I feel like I am cheating because I know myself so well. Like when you read the last page of a novel before the first; don’t the other 130 pages feel cheap because you know where the author is taking you? - I always know where this is going. Every instance can be pinpointed:

The day my lap stopped being a pillow for his restless head because my need to prove that sitting still was for criminals was overpowering any and every other emotion. I felt it was my was my duty, my right if you will, to denounce people who have taken their ability to be free and squandered it.

The day your chewing made me wince so I placed my fork beside my knife and sat wide eyed watching you spill hot sauce down the front of your shirt. “Do you know how to use a fork properly?” I once asked.

Right now, I’m sitting in traffic on 95 and I’m thinking about the weather. All I can think about is the way he reminded me of the weather. Every year when the wind calms, I am comforted by the grass thawing and stretching back towards the sun because I am thrown back into my past. It was a time best described by the fact that the front door had no lock but I was still uneasy about just walking in. To this day, I am not sure if I loved being with him or just being in that lifestyle full of freedom and lazi-faire planning.

My passenger is telling me to get over it, that as with anything else, I need to make room for the new. She is saying “you need to let go of the past.” I want to say “I love my past.”

When we rear ended that couple on the night before I left, you threw your arm across my chest on impact to hold my body against the seat. Your arm caught the glass from the windshield. I often wonder about people who rear end other people and if the subconscious comes into question when white dust from the air bag is raining down . How did you know to put your arm out so fast?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Live, Alive

There was an ice storm over night and I slept while the city was covered in tiny frozen pellets. I didn't sleep well, but I slept. I haven't felt comfortable in this bed since before I bought it.

Sitting in the mattress store I flopped on mattress after mattress; I climbed on the hard ones, sunk into the soft ones, I sprawled out and curled up but unlike red riding hood, my need was not met. Nothing was right.

At night when I can’t sleep, I look at my ceiling and try to trace the cracks by the light from street lamps. I listen for familiarity in cars passing by my window and I think about that apartment you lived in. The cracks in the ceilings linked the living room and kitchen. I want to bring up the time we laid in bed and I asked about the cracks but you didn’t respond.

I find myself more often than not thinking about the apartments you’ve lived in that I didn't see, or never will see. The ones I’ve been in, the ones you’ve had me in- they don’t interest me. I stay awake at night and want to know you in a way I would never let you know me.

Sometimes, I lie completely still and try to see myself in this bed. I try to be there 100%- but I'm not. I've never been anywhere 100%. Even during my happiest moments I want to be on to the next happiest moment. There will never be enough happiest moments for me.

There are nights when I feel the way I did last August. Now alone, but not then, I focused on trying not to move so not disturb him. The slight sound of his breathing banged against my ears and even though the air conditioner made the weather December I sweat through the sheets.

I’ve tried all the usual remedies to combat this insomnia. I read books, lit candles and even bought bed risers. Now it's just like I'm floating while I lay awake. I tried meditating in the morning, but I’ve found that I like the soothing sound of an anchor’s voice to that of silence.

I find a calmness take over as they tell me of overnight gun shot wounds and car accidents and three alarm fires and missing children. There’s always missing children. As the sunrises I am greeted with traffic back ups on free ways and natural disasters along coastal cities and towns. It comforts me to know that I'm not the only one awake tracing ceiling cracks at 4am.

I’m not afraid of planes crashing out of the sky on to my house from over exposure to the news. I do not have panic attacks when I cross bridges or wear a helmet while I walk down the street.. In fact, I have booked more flights and boarded more train this year than any other. I am certain that I'll find America, even if it exhausts my entire bank account.

Through my trials with the night I have found one full proof method- pack a suitcase before bed. Leave an itinerary stuck up on my fridge and I wake up fully rested with no urge to stay up until sunrise picking at vowels and periods like paint chips on my wall.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


You tried to move me to Connecticut; you painted a life of colonial woodwork and dinner parties. You said that this was what I always wanted, to hang up my pencil skirts and let the emperors build the empire while I rested my tired feet.

I said cashmere makes me itch.
I said the feathers in down comforters make me sneeze.
I said that my days have become weeks and I don’t know if it’s dawn or midnight.
I said I wake up and go right back to sleep.

You hired a trainer and a pastry chef, you had a bachelor party and I drove to the 1,000 islands. I drove to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. I drove to Orange County, NY and sat at the train station and let the wind pull at my salon perfected curls. I rode to Hoboken, walked through the crowds and allowed claustrophobia to swallow me. I clutched my purse to my right side, opened a pack of Newports with my left hand and made my way back to what could have been the beginning.

I circled blocks I’d walked down before and traced steps back to where I could have lived. I stopped in front of the 3 story apartment building with a bay window that cocooned the living room and broke into the bedroom. The rooms were separated only by linen curtains and there was no oven, only a microwave.

I never carried boxes up to the 2nd floor; I never forwarded my mail or put the electric in my name. I never dealt with the leaky faucet in the bathroom or neighbor who played bass in a band on the floor above me. I never signed the lease. You never saw it. I never lived there.

I stopped in Secaucus and waited on the platform for a late train, the clink of metal against metal calmed me in a way I had almost forgotten. The constant motion soothed my nerves and I was calm. I did not sleep on the train, but I felt the car rocking back and forth like a baby in a bassinet, or what I assume would be a baby in a bassinet. I drove on 84 west.

You planned a welcome home barbecue for me as a surprise. You invited all the neighbors whom I’d met but didn’t know the names of. I smiled. I felt exhausted. You planned a honeymoon down to Miami where we would take a cruise and sail for 7 days in luxury. You laid your clothes out on the bed for me to pack while I slept on the love seat in my closet.

I said the choppy water makes me sea sick.
I said I couldn’t find the right SPF for the differing climates.
I said I saw a 20/20 special on the lack of cleanliness on major cruise lines.
I said I don't know where you keep your suitcase.