How did I get here?
The brakes of a cargo train screech unseen in the night. The city looms over the atrophied limbs of winter’s trees. The light is low and warm in an apartment I had contented myself to never see. I remember peeking inside one day as the previous owner slipped through the door. I pocketed the image of a small entry table and I constructed a fabricated world from it. The life that bloomed and died and bloomed inside. I’d contented myself to never see it. But it’s not unremarkable to me now that it’s the one I thought of from time to time. The one that I mused about in my insomnia while I reconfigured the pieces of errant light that trespassed across my ceiling from ineffective blinds. We’re all strangers in these rooms. Sharing hallways and doors. Sharing a home and keeping to our private little wings. We’re not as separate as we think. And it’s not unremarkable to me now that they left and you came and your life bloomed and died and bloomed here in this apartment I had contented myself never to see, the one that made me realize we’re never as separate as we think.
My ankle is broken, I’m laying in your bed and you’re not home. How did I get here?
I made a lot of wrong turns. I went further away before I ever got closer. I turned into something you barely recognized by the time I turned back up. The stray cat who got caught in the rain. But not so sad, no, not quite like that. I gained something out there and I brought it with me. I shed the husk I’d been peering out from behind like a cicada waking up from my 17 year stasis. I came back better, and I started to climb. Now I’m here, in this place I’m trying to retrace my journey to, and it feels like the precipice. Well, not the precipice, but a precipice. Either way, I’m staring into the wind and it’s pulling tears from my eyes. I’m aware of my careful and unsure footing. I know how very far down it is. The vantage from here is mesmerizing. Paralyzing. I don’t dare move. All I want to do is keep climbing. But the higher I go, the more fragile the footholds, the more certain the death. The more captivating the view. Tradeoffs. I’m exactly where I’ve always wanted to be. I am happy, and grateful, and delighted beyond my wildest beliefs, and I’m terrified out of my god damn mind. Everyday is a trade off. Silent and never spoken contingencies to get me through the fall. Promises I make to myself, that something will be there to break it. Even as I stand with sure footing, even as I proceed with no intention to slow, I have to know that I’ll be okay if you push me off. I have to reassure myself that this insanity, going deeper into the mouth of something that could swallow me whole, isn’t going to be the death of me. But you know what, I hope it is.
How did I get here? Good fucking fortune. Trembling steps made in good faith and against better judgement. The ceaseless humor of the turning world. The perfect alignment of a thousand things. A million tiny boxes that had to be ticked. Divinity in a sense that I can’t assign words to. I contented myself to never see the inside of this apartment. But I was another divination then. 24 and poison incarnate. Haunting bars like a poltergeist. Committing emotional seppuku at the feet of people who were equally fucked in the head. What the hell did I know? The world was a wild animal that confounded me and I was a flea.
I contented myself to never see you again. I was in a rush that day. I didn’t feel pretty. Year one of a pandemic had just begun. Our dogs hated each other. We were standing shouting distance apart. I said yes when you proposed that we meet for coffee because my good sense hadn’t caught up with me yet. I forgot there was another life that I was late for. And somewhere else it bloomed and died. Thank god. Because when I left you outside, a sense of possibility died with the April dew. And I wish I could tell that girl that she would end up here.