I am rarely alone in the evenings. I think, for me at least, this is a sign of a very full life. An evening alone and I am wandering around my home, checking doorways for roommates and ghosts. I am doing laundry, separating carefully the whites from the blacks from the colors, neat piles across the floor of my attic bedroom. I walk downstairs to eat a cracker. I pick up the guitar and strum the same three chords, the only ones I have ever known, may ever know. I sit down to write a letter but I cannot get beyond the opening lines which are in themselves an explanation on why I never write you letters. I think about opening a bottle of wine. I think about walking to the corner bar. I think about you.
Yesterday as I walked along the edges of a high school track field my friend asked, while we talked on love, like we often do in one way or another– which would you rather be, desperate or bored? Because we were getting along on the topic of being in a relationship and thinking quite surely that one must always be one or the other, and that a relationship is managing the shifting dynamic of these two roles. To which she responded for me, and quite accurately, I’d rather be alive.
I’d like to have a bottle of wine and finish this letter to you which I may in some romantic gesture slip between the pages of your notebook or your glove box, to be happened upon at a later date. But I cannot get over the idea that I am the desperate one for now. I can feel it in my bones, in my posture, in my glances across the restaurant– love me, choose me. How can a letter convey to anyone the depths in which we live, would it not just be another way to dance around my insecurities, to lay them, fillet them on the page? Would it be more than written proof of how far gone I find myself? Could it ever be more than that?
I check the laundry in the basement and look for more ghosts. I put on hand lotion that smells like my mother. I hang dry my underwear and white t-shirts. I try honestly to learn a song I heard on the radio this morning. Sometimes I can hear the neighbors out my window and I smell rain and I think about how long the sun stays out this time of year.
Sometimes I feel two of me, and I can watch her under your spell and I wonder what she is made of. She is all paper mâché, wire casing underneath the parts that look good. I think she will wear thin, and crack, though she never does. And I watch quietly the two of us lie side by side beneath you, and I tell her to say things, to whisper them, to shout them, to grab a hold of you so tightly I too can feel the touch. So I end up writing the letter to her instead, this other me, this me that is a mine to you. Maybe between the two of us, we can make sense of things tonight.