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.