bittersweet…

about an ice-age ago in terms of internet time, there was a site called bittersweet which invited submissions – usually short fictional autobiography or autobiographical fiction. these were a few of my submissions about, i guess, what you could call *submissions*. they’ve been lying forgotten in the fossilized strata of my computer till i stumbled upon them recently and i thought i’d excavate and exhibit them here.

bittersweet

i’m lying there wondering why i can’t get him the hell out of my head. it’s been forever and we live on opposite sides of the ocean now, but for some reason he’s suddenly all i can think about.

the phone rings and the cacophony in my head is shocked into silence by his voice on the line.

”where are you?” i finally manage to stammer.

“on your door-step.”

———————————

it’s been over for a long time. we’re both involved in long-distance relationships. he’s come into town without his girlfriend and i’m leaving in two days to meet the new lover whose face i can barely remember because of the old one i can’t yet forget.

after a long night talking and drinking infront of the fire, there is an invitation to share a platonic bed.

in the morning, while my stomach still lurches from what evolved into a very non-platonic night, i turn to him and say, “it was the way we spooned, the way your arm across my body drew me close, the familiarity of it all, that undid me.”

he looks at me with real alarm and says,”oh no, we don’t want you coming undone, now do we?”

————————-

in the restaurant he leans across the candle-lit table with that old puppy-dog expression that used to melt my insides, still does, and tells me how beautiful i am.

i shake my head in disbelief and turn away,  to which he responds,

“you know, just because i had my head turned by another woman, doesn’t mean that i can’t still appreciate how incredible you are.”

in the morning, he invites me to their engagement party.

————————-

on sundays he usually makes the croissant-run – a trip to the local bakery to buy breakfast pastry.

i awake to a paper-bag and a note at my front-door.

at my kitchen-table, with my coffee and croissant, i read the note. it says,

“you asked me to write you a letter. how about the letter ‘I’ with a little bit of  ‘LOVE’ in between, followed by my favourite letter, ‘U’.”

at the bottom, accompanied by two x’d kisses, it is signed, “me”.

i read it again while in my mind i can see him sitting down to sunday brunch with his wife and kids. i nearly toss my croissant in the trash, but instead i eat it slowly  till all that’s left are the crumbs of pastry-flakes.

i don’t even cry.

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quiet now

i can be like a cornered animal when hurt. vicious. i can be the uncontrollable bitch snarling at the end of a leash. and i’m sorry for that. i’ve had my teeth unsheathed, angry and scared,  but i’m going to be quiet now. i’m back to who i really am – the better version of me.

i loved.

i lost.

but there’s so much i gained. and i’m glad for that. 

and i’m keeping my heart open.

green-leaf-red-heart

time for nothing

time

strange how time can flex

contracting and expanding
at will
sometimes it’s candy gobbled
with a fat-faced greed
disappearing with
a speed that makes one spin
other times
the day
stretches into infinity
like treacle
elastic and sticky
and the clock stays stuck
for hours at the
same face you perused
merely
but a minute ago

nothing

take everything
leave nothing behind
nothing that looks or smells
or tastes like you
leave no reminder
that once i held you in regard
that once i gave you haven in my heart
yes
take everything
i want nothing to remind

i do not wish to find a single trace
of what a fool i was
i do not want to face the fact
that what i got from you
was nothing
so yes
take everything
leave nothing behind

irretrievable

i think i am still in a state of disbelief. still finding it hard to fathom that this time is not another false ending. that there will not be another do-over. a take 4, or 5. there will be no rewrites on this particular script.

i keep seeing this very graphic image. you know the stamps used in official paperwork?

irretrievable

unbelievable as it may seem. irretrievable.

i should rather be a stone.

Stone 8.16.07

I’ve spent my life avoiding loss,
Shunning desire,
Never building not there
Castles in air,
Always prepared.

Perpetually aware,
I hoard my tears,
Guarding against the grinding loss
Of even one.
I do not allow a single
Leaking smear
Upon my cheek
For fear, unchecked,
A flood may come.

What I do not want
Cannot mistakenly
Leech into the void –
And loss.
A loss
I’ve lived my life
Avoiding.

elvis has left the building

seeing that the theme for this week is breaking up, i thought this short short-story i wrote a long time ago, might make an appropriate post.

 

Freshman year. I saw him coming down the stairs of the lecture hall, his long hair wildly curling, his arms flailing in conversation. I shook my head and turned away, laughing to the person beside me.  I thought he looked ridiculous. It wasn’t that he was overweight or even particularly big – he just took up space, lots of it.

Weeks passed. In the easy, inexplicable, amorphously complex way that friendships are forged, somehow the space around him began to include me and eventually it didn’t even surprise me that we were soon inseparable. Maybe I’d developed a sense of the ridiculous!

We’d stop to lie in the grass on the walk home and talk about whatever was occupying our obviously brilliant minds. We’d dance along the canal to mercurial music emanating (almost magically) from some oboe player practicing in the dark. The hoarded remnants of our student allowances would occasionally allow us the luxury of  savoring a single cocktail and periodically we’d stay up all night writing last minute assignments. It was a joke among our friends that he would do most of the research, but my grade would be 10 percent higher!

Eventually, when we moved in together, we washed up here in this building with the flotsam and jetsam of residents past and present. The apartment was great,  but something about this roof kept beckoning; it was where we’d sneak our smoke or seek solitude. We’d lie near naked, browning on summer days. On hot nights, similarly clothed, we’d escape the heat of our room, dragging our comforter to make a bed under neon stars. We’d lie looking at the back of the first five letters of the sign above the “Silver Screen” (our home from home) – an old movie house which holds all night black and white marathons every Friday night and screens “art” movies the rest of the time. It was our private joke that we’d make a fortune alerting the tabloids that these 5 letters, juggled and repeated, reveal the coded message that “ELVIS LIVES”! We liked the place so much that we stayed on even after graduation, after we went corporate and  could afford slick leather and upgrades on our jalopies.

Now here we are. Probably for the last time.

“I’m sorry,” I finally manage to say. The words come out emotional and thick, remorseful, yet at the same time, unrepentant. They emerge invisible, then solidify in the air and just hang there – ugly as graffiti sprouting overnight on fresh paint. I want to get up and throw my arms around him as if he is still my best friend. As if I don’t have someone waiting for me in a car downstairs. 

As if nothing has changed.

Silence. His words are turned away from me as he stands at the perimeter of this roof like it’s the edge of the world and he’s braced to battle monsters. Like he’s standing on the platform of a desolate station, waiting doggedly for a train he’s been told has just derailed.

It seems to me that we are actors in disheveled wings on the opening night of a play we’ve never rehearsed and to which we don’t know the words. Meanwhile the curtain rises. The audience waits.

Beyond the blank of his back my gaze is caught by those five letters silhouetted against the mottled sky. The car-horn’s quiet cough floats up from the sidewalk, then sounds again, not quite as quiet as before.

I hesitate for just a moment and then rise…

I take my cue.

bound

 

bound

 

i’m so full of shite. so full of contradictions and ambivalences and ambiguities and inconsistencies. i wrote that  earlier post about being on the bound. that i’m going to bounce. 

and after i posted it, i realized that i was still waiting for my phone to ring, waiting for some connection, my whole being tuned into where he is and what he’s doing and how he’s feeling. and it’s difficult not to pick up the phone. so i started sorting out my closet and throwing stuff out. i took myself to the gym for distraction, but my mind has an absolute, single searing focus right now.

and yes, i am going to bounce, but i’m also bound. bound so tight and what feels like inextricably intertwined with what we were, with what was and i’m finding it difficult to escape the tentacles of the past so i can move into whatever future is waiting, towards whatever i am bound. 

here are just a few definitions of the word bound:

-verb bound up in or with,

a. inseparably connected with.
b. devoted or attached to:

intr.verb
.   bound·edbound·ingbounds    

  1. To leap forward or upward; spring.
  2. To progress by forward leaps or springs.
  3. To bounce; rebound.
   

–adjective

1. going or intending to go; on the way to; destined (usually fol. by for): The train is bound for Denver.
2. Archaicprepared; ready.
–noun   

1. Usually, bounds. limit or boundary: the bounds of space and time;
trust me to pick a word that is this contradictory in meaning – movement and stasis, freedom and confinement. 
“it was the nature of our relationship that though inseparably bound, we were bound to reach our bound(ary) and now i am bound to bound to wherever it is i’m bound.”
 
so yes, i am bound. in all the different meanings of the word.
driving home from the gym, i wrote this:
waste not    nov 11, 08

sometimes i wonder 
if i squandered love
believing it would never leave
thinking what i’d got was in infinite supply
seems sometimes even the bottomless well
is not
and the river you take for granted
so easily runs dry