i feel you somewhere in this town
– off with their heads
everything reminds me of you.
i wake up in the morning and get ready for work, walk down the street to get coffee, and wait impatiently at the bus stop. the route kills me- its long accordian bus taking me down the last street you lived on before i left you- every morning i think of the times i walked to and from your apartment with all my laundry in tow. the way we awkwardly walked next to each other- your skateboard in one hand, my hand in the other, never really saying much. it was like dating you for the first time again, only much sadder. much more quiet. and although you were actually around, so much lonelier. learning your new quirks, and getting used to your old ones- that was the hardest part. how can you be with someone for so long, love them for so long, and still feel like you know nothing? you had become a stranger.
the saddest part is i believed you that time. you’d stopped drinking as much, but you made up for that by snorting more blow than ever. i was fooling myself in believing we could make it. i drank myself into oblivion and showed up at your door regularly. you’d be out all night with greasy friends, doing sleazy things, and you’d come home to me, always. we’d sit silently infront of your computer, watching cartoons and bad movies. i’d lay my feet on your lap, and you’d slide down to rest your head on my chest. nothing felt more calculated then, than kissing you. than telling you i loved you. than hearing you tell me you loved me. we were forcing something so horribly broken, and i was lost in thinking the violence had stopped, that the hate was gone, and the resentment would fade away.
fuck, was i wrong.
i knew a lot about you- likely more than anyone… and still, i don’t know you, really. you’re such a mystery to me. the only certain thing in our relationship was your anger. i knew the breaths you’d draw before finally snapping- before spitting such angry rage my way. i knew the way your hands would tap on your knee, or how many times your eyes would shift before you’d tell me something hurtful. i’d count your steps and multiply your words while sitting silently in a corner waiting for it to be over, wishing and hoping in binary in my head (01101000 01100101 01101100 01110000)… loving you was the worst mathematical equation i’d ever attempted to solve.
all of this runs so much deeper than you think. this isn’t about missing you, or wishing for things to be different. this has nothing to do with not being over it, not being over you. this has everything to do with being broken. a stranger once told me that my eyes were an open book- that the darkness of my past was so evident, it was heartbreaking. in some ways i’m so good at hiding our truth that no one would ever know the kind of suffering you put me through, and by the same token my eyes have lost their smile- their brightness. i hate you for that. i don’t hate you for the abuse- i’ve grown and have built strength i’d never have known if it weren’t for the poison running deep in your veins. no, i hate you for taking my spunk, my spirit, my faith in humanity- i hate you for taking my light. because since knowing you, everything has been so dark. fuck you, for that.
and despite it all, you’re still here. you’ve left the city, and i still feel you. the wind blows and it sends chills down my spine the way you still do. i shake off the sick feeling, and try to forget. but every corner i turn is a house we once lived in, every sidewalk is one we’ve walked down, hand in hand. this city screams of our love, and yet lingers with our hate.
you’ve loved your girlfriend between the sheets i bought you when you were nineteen. she’s folded the shirts i bought you, the ones i altered to fit your skeleton of a body when you started losing all your pre-drug weight. your vintage frames have been replaced with pictures of her, where the ones of us once were. you see that’s the most horrifying part of leaving a lover- having a stranger pick up where you’d left off. like you’re sharing this person with someone else.
nothing made me more upset than seeing andy using the first bath towel we’d bought together for our apartment when i was seventeen. his lean, healthy body wrapped in the same towel that once dried yours- sick and drug-ridden. watching him throw his underwear into the laundry hamper after a hard day’s work- the same hamper you threw yours in after fucking our neighbour. kissing him on the same couch you hurled my body onto- the same one you kneeled on while wrapping your hands so tightly around my neck.
you see you’re gone, and yet you’re still so… present. sometimes i get this irrational fear that i’ll look at myself in the mirror and see the black imprints of your fingers on my collarbones. i’ll see the swollen eyes from the crying. i’ll see that stranger staring back at me in the reflection, and it haunts me. i remember being so disgusted with myself then. how do you ever let it get to that point? how can you hate yourself so much, you let someone else beat you down that low?
i didn’t know then, and i still don’t have the answer now.
all i know is i’m ready to forgive myself. i’m ready to forget. this city is my home, and damn it if i leave it because of you. damn it if you take the last thing i have.
i’m ready to be whole again.