Blending

October 5, 2012
By , West Orange, NJ
When I sit up at night and look into the shadows that blend with the darkness of eleven-thirty, when the furniture meshes with the walls and the darkness inside becomes one with the plush blackness outside, I see your face begin to take shape in the pulsating kaleidoscope of black, black, black. When I close my eyes and the pulsating closes to a whisper, the slow whisper of my fever dreams, I throw off my blankets and feverishly dream about you, your voice slow, your touch and smell synesthetic and permeating my fingertips. When I think about you I still get that pang in my chest and my face wells up but I don’t cry anymore because that’s the first step. When you come back to me in my dreams you’re there but you’re not quite there, you’re not quite there with me, and then when you come back the next night I’m confused but it’s the same thing over again, just like it used to be on the phone. And then the next night when you come back I think you’ll be Prince Eric and I’ll be Ariel and I’ll be the exception, and you’re really back, really back this time, and for some reason I don’t want to admit, I’m glad that you’re crying because you’re so, so sorry, it won’t happen again, and I am so relieved that I’m not dreaming anymore and this is really happening. But then with a lucid jerk I am reminded that I am, this is just more cruel illusion in my mind, a masochistic gear in my subconscious that wants me to break, and I hate you.
But I know that I love you, I still love you, dammit, I know that if someday you ever came back – you won’t – I would fall at your knees and take you back with weepy Miss Teen USA eyes and a humiliating smile. I would feel my nose prickle with tears held back, because supposedly happy tears are just sad tears you’ve ben waiting to shed. I don’t quite understand happy tears, just like I never quite understood why I always felt nauseated whenever I was going to see you. I would wake up in the morning feeling sick and it wouldn’t go away all day, even when you were across the table holding my hand with your cold guitar-callused one over a cutting board of cheese and crackers. It was still there, it was still there, it was there every time. Sometimes we fell asleep together and it became this delicious warmth inside me, less like a fever. You always seemed to blend me into a fog, the dark, the heat. For so many nights and days my life went by in a fog and sometimes that pang in my chest hits me and all day and all night all I can think of is you and your possibilities and my possibilities just seem like they can wait when I think of the possibilities of you and me. Because that was always what you and me were about, about possibilities and the wonder of everything on Earth. When you were around everything was beautiful. Sometimes you didn’t even have to be around, sometimes I’d think of you and remember that someone, not just someone, you, were in love with me. And even though I didn’t quite know what that meant, my smile cracked open my face and you cracked open my heart, quite literally because whenever I think of love I think of you and I don’t understand where it goes.
Your laugh is on my answering machine – no it’s not anymore, I deleted it in a puddle on the floor while my sister deleted you from my vapid online “life.” But your apologetic “happy birthday” is still on my answering machine, from almost four months ago, your voice hoarse and confusing. I’m not sure what you’re feeling there but I am sure that at the end you don’t say I love you and that’s how I know this really happened. You said it wouldn’t happen, but you lied just like the boys do in every country song. You didn’t mean to, you never meant to but you did, you lied to me. I asked you not to because I knew I would remember those sweet nothing lies – and I do remember it, blended every time together like a creamy anniversary dessert even though you missed our anniversary. A boy in a country song once promised a swoony heavy-lidded girl that they would never make her parents’ mistakes; how could you? How could you promise me that? How could you be a boy just like my father, my father who never grew up and insists that he has? How could you be that man who broke your promises to me, who took all my defenses, so well built-up and yet so young and teenaged even though I wish with everything in me I weren’t so teenaged and young and girl, took them and carefully shushed me as you took them down brick by brick – one of my favorite things is the moulding in brick walls, but you ruined it. And you built up a flowery-vined secret garden inside me that you quietly nursed for what seemed like ever, until all of a sudden I did something too honest just like that heady country girl and the magic was gone. Somehow that way you had fallen in love with me was gone, that transformation from boy to man changed from something we had been in together, boy to man girl to woman, to something you had all under control all by yourself, and I’m here writing this letter you will never read.
I always told myself you’d never read me like this, but the last thing I ever said to you was a crackly, hoarse, sobbing-whispered I love you before you hung up. And I want to tell you God I miss you, I dream about you every night and I wish to God I didn’t, I know that I should stick by everything I outwardly stand for and fight it, but good God I fight it every day. Every day I fight the need, the stinging and at once throbbing pulse I feel in my stomach that says “I need to call you,” “I need to hear your voice,” “You…” And I have groped at the concept between all those seemingly hopeless and desperate songs and dislocated, then-disappointing poets who stopped lamenting over loves lost and imagined love rediscovered, love that made it through the troubled times, love that ever came back, love that maybe in the future came back. I used to laugh like a flitty victim in an Oscar Wilde novel, knowing only the trivialities of love, but now I know the tragedies and unfortunately my youth has been spoiled, youth, the only thing worth having, youth! Youth! Why?
I’ve never had a best friend, that best friend every young person seems to have, but I realized as soon as I woke up from that hazy dream that you were mine, you were always mine, you were the person I turned to when I needed someone in my family who understood me because you were the family I chose, that family I’ve been waiting to choose since my father, that other boy who disappointed me so painfully similarly, began the transition, that hateful transition into someone who could not be the man I wanted him to be. Every day he would tell me you can’t choose your family but you can choose the love of your life, the person you spend the rest of your life with, and that choice is the most precious one. But now, now he explains himself away by trying to tell me that you just can’t choose the person you…like. He means you can’t choose the person you love, but Goddammit, you can choose to keep the love of your life. You don’t have to choose the easy way out because God, I’d rather fight it out with you than start all over with someone new. Maybe that can’t be today but maybe it can be someday.
I hate to prove right the family I didn’t choose, the family I would never choose – forgive me God – the family that told me we would never last. But God, we lasted for a little while, a big while, a while that became a bigger part of me than I want it to still be. I want it to disappear like you did, but it won’t, no matter how hard I will it to. Don’t end a sentence with a preposition. But don’t cheat, don’t lie, don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Too late all around.





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