sink vs. swim

do you ever miss it?

i don’t know, really. yes? no? of course not. sometimes. obviously.

it fluctuates, i guess. with my mood, with the season, with my fucking outfit. sometimes i look in the mirror and i’m startled by its reflection. when did i become so tired? or when did i learn to smile again? it’s weird, i guess, to be wrapped up so tightly in a world of wretchedness and hide it so well. i don’t know how i could flee with such ease- how i could disconnect like that.

maybe i was young- it was so easy to fall and get wrapped up and just… be with someone. but things happened and i escaped myself and i may have just been a shell of a person- someone i once was. someone i’d never be again. maybe i glorified all those meaningless fucks because i wanted, more than anything, for them to be more than that. i wanted to prove (to myself) that i was capable of love again. not being in love. just… loving. i knew how, i thought. and it didn’t matter with who, i just needed to settle this bet with myself.

but his skin felt different, and his neck wasn’t comforting and i closed my eyes if he looked at me. i was sure not to touch his face, his shoulders, his chest, his hands- nothing that would connect us. i knew how to fuck without love. and i got better at it as time went on. hike your skirt and don’t look back.

men like that, right? when you drink them under the table, pound shots back while you’re dancing. when you have no fucking limits, no end. at some point, i couldn’t even tell when the night began or when the sun rose. i became so drunk off power, off lust, off getting away with all of it. i was secretive enough to keep them on their toes, yet open enough to have them back for more, if i wanted to. it became easy, i became cocky. they were afraid of me. i’d become a fucking liability because no one wanted to hurt like that. no one wanted to push those limits or feel so awful day after day. my body became my own punching bag, and i grew accustomed to the pain…

rolling out off someone (anyone)’s couch at dawn, naked and frazzled. my kidneys in so much pain i couldn’t even cough. stumbling through hallways to a bathroom so i could shit my fucking brains out, hack up a lung, and whimper in the shower. cracking a beer for breakfast. chewing gum all day to mask the taste of malt liquor. fighting the fatigue, fighting the urge to sleep forever because i knew then that if i’d give in, i’d give up forever. one more night, i’d say.

it lasted years.

how? fuck if i know.

and don’t get me wrong… some of my best memories were created during those times- during the better days, with better people. but i have this way of spiralling out of control so fast i lose my grip almost entirely. and yeah, you know, there will always be a part of me that will feed off the ecstacy of that lifestyle. and i will still have totally out of control crazy nights, sometimes.

but i think i’ve changed.

in some ways, at least. how could i not? it became a matter of life or death, job or unemployment, food or starvation, love or hate. it was either get healthy and grow up or fall off the map forever. because no one wants a broken girl like that; damaged goods. no one wants a fucking drunk for a girlfriend, for a daughter, for a friend.

and maybe dan did have a small part in helping me. he wanted so badly to be good again, to find some sort of common ground. when we were just friends, he would escape to the comforts of my living room and sleep in my bed and eat my casseroles. and without even realizing it, we were living the lifestyle i’d always wanted, deep down. the lifestyle i wasn’t comfortable sharing with anyone else.

so when i was sitting in my friend’s living room, eating the shepherds pie we’d just made from scratch, and talking about her due date… and she asked me, quite boldly do you ever miss it? , my initial instinct was to respond, without faulter, no. no fucking way.

and i guess i’d been mulling it over because, really, fuck it’s easy to let go… but i haven’t wavered. the answer is still no. this lifestyle i have, with these people in my life, and the job i work hard at, and the bills i pay (on time, no less), and the expensive furniture i finally own, and the effort i am putting into my home with dan… this is living. and i may shiver when i take my first sip of beer of the week, and i may still get a little giddy when i get afternoon drunk on a sunday, but it’s getting better. it’s definitely gotten easier. and i think that’s what’s important.

i don’t need to be black-out drunk to take my pants off in front of my boyfriend. and i don’t need to eat once a day to sustain life- i can cook and plan meals and enjoy dinners with my family and friends. and i don’t need to force myself to feel any sort of emotion, because with dan, it comes as naturally as breathing. as blinking. it just is.

and maybe that’s what scares me, sometimes. here i am, just being. and i’m okay with it. and i’m falling in love with it, even. i don’t have to worry about anyone’s intentions or the burden of fucking being alive because i actually have purpose now. and it’s a tough place to be, when i realize the last few years of my life have been some fucking bullshit ride i wanted off of- a rollercoaster i just kept riding because i had no other choice, i didn’t know any other options.

but that friend… the one who always asked me how i was doing, who always flat out questioned my sobriety any time we talked… she created a life. this perfect, tiny, healthy baby girl… and she’s changed everything. everyone around me is getting married, or having babies, moving in with their significant others, or packing up to start somewhere fresh together. it’s beautiful. here i was, thinking we were just a bunch of fuck ups, a bunch of punks having a good time. and it’s like the seasons changed and we’ve all started building our own families. my old roommate, skinhead jesse, is flying halfway across the country to make hundreds of thousands of dollars so he can buy his girlfriend a house in a year. so he can marry her and they can have babies in the city. jesse fucking germs wants to be a man. he wants to build a life and be a father… and the best part? he’d be amazing at it.

these last few days… spent renovating my new home, and spending time with my close friends who are all doing the same sort of things… i’ve just fallen completely in love with this city again. with my friends and our new lifestyles and where we’re headed.

because for the first time, man, we’re fucking headed somewhere.

and dammit, does that ever feel good.

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please remember (to remember)

i remember the most subtle things…

like how his whole body would shake when he laughed- when he really laughed. or how effortlessly we’d stare at each other as the moon shone on us in our attic bedroom- neither of us saying a word. it didn’t ever matter how angry we were- we could be facing away from each other, even… but every night we’d sleep with our feet wrapped around one another’s. i used to watch him get coffee every morning, too… the way he’d dump some of it into the garbage, pour a whole bunch of cream in it, stir it quickly, put on the lid and press the back part of it down into the cup, take a sip and then woosh it around in his mouth before swallowing and licking his lips- i watched him meticulously every day, and it was always the same. i loved him then. despite everything he’d done and all the things he said… i would catch glimpses of the old him i knew that had never changed; just like my love for him.

he always ordered his eggs sunny-side up, he hated sleeping in, and never really enjoyed television. he cried a lot- always silently. we always kissed between sentences, no matter where we were- angry or not. we were that couple. he rode a motorcycle, he loved old trucks, and he was phenominal artist.

his hair was coffee brown, his eyes were black as night and his lips always had the most perfect tint of rose in them. he bit his lip when he was nervous, he tapped on his knees when he’d talk, and he always had the saddest look on his face- even when he’d smile. eerily enough, i loved that about him. his hands and feet were perfectly manicured. he’d always kiss my belly or grab my bum when i would shave his head. his neck smelled the same for six years. he loved the beach and the sun, he loved our dog, and he enjoyed nature. he had the shortest tongue… he could barely stick it out and he always made the funniest face when he’d try. his name is spelled in french, but only pronounced in english. i never met his father. he’d use surfer slang from the east coast like gnarly, and radical. i really liked his hand-writing, i used to smell his shirts before hanging them up, and his eyes always squinted when he’d look at me.

he loved when i wore red nail polish, he picked out my glasses, and he loved me in skate shoes. he was convinced we’d fall in love again in paris. he hates this city. he used play with my hair until i fell asleep, he’d watch me get dressed in the morning, and he always called me gorgeous. when i was sixteen, he’d leave love notes by the bed if he left before i did. we never showered apart, and he always washed my hair for me.

i once dropped my baby blanket while lugging my dirty laundry to his apartment, and he skateboarded around the neighbourhood until he found it, while i sobbed on the sidewalk.

another time he sent me a text message in the middle of the night saying “dress warm, i’ll be there in 5 minutes”. we walked to the park hand in hand and he laid out a blanket and a bunch of candles. he brought beer and a camera and we laid there for hours kissing by candle-light and taking pictures together.

he wouldn’t check up on me often, but when he did it was because he’d have this irrational fear that something awful had happened to me. and oddly enough, i did the same.

i always wore his hats and t-shirts around the house. sometimes he’d paint my nails, and he always dyed my hair for me. every once in awhile i’d wake up to him crying in the middle of the night- just looking at me- and every time i’d wake up and ask him what was wrong he’d sob and say “i love you too much” and “you’re too good for me”. we watched horror moves together in our underwear, he’d let me sit on his lap and do the crosswords in the morning while he drank his coffee, and he loved to read in bed. he let me pick out and sew his clothes. he built a half-pipe in his backyard. he had rough hands, he always kept loose change in his right pocket, and all of his jeans were ripped. every year for christmas we would decorate the tree at his mother’s house before coming home to make a gingerbread house together. he loved the beach boys. he loved laying together on our yellow tweed sofa just talking and listening to music. he bought our dog a misfits bandana. he gave the best hugs.

he preferred being alone.

a small remnant; any small quantity.

it all seems minuscule and yet so monumental- all at once.

i was looking at my toes peeking out from my peep toe heels, thinking about nothing important- needing a pedicure, or another pair of shoes equally as comfortable. i was nervously playing with my own hands, the way i always do when i’m avoiding eye contact. i was confessing something quite serious and the words sort of summer-saulted out out of my mouth before i could even stop them. i had literally verbally exploded and before i knew it, it was too late to retract anything i’d said.

maybe i’m selfish in thinking no one can grasp the pain i still allow myself to feel. i enable myself to hurt so much and let it get to me the way it does. and still- her response? she shrugged her shoulders. she dismissed my pain & loss like it was nothing. like i’d “get over it” when i’m mature enough to grasp the good i’d done. it seems stupid now, but it made me so angry to know someone else had been through a similar experience and felt nothing. how could you? how could you possibly feel nothing?

maybe i do this to myself on purpose.

i live alone, i mourn in silence, i feel sad when i go to sleep, and i feel inadequate when i wake up. i put hours and days of work into an apartment i already want to move out of, and i still hate calling this place home. there was a mouse once and i killed a spider a few hours ago, and the cupboards smell like old toast. no matter how many meals i cook, or hours i spend cleaning, or time i leave the windows open for fresh air… it still smells stale. it’s like some stupid metaphor for how fucking stagnant my life is, isn’t it?

i don’t know how i can play with the extremes of my lifestyles so seamlessly. strangers look at me in awe and wonder how the hell i stay so together, all the time. how i manage to be this responsible, independent business woman around the clock without losing my shit. but that’s the funniest part. i haven’t always been this way. they see the tight orange curls, the obsessively manicured nails, or the tailored suit jackets- and i’ve got them fooled. seven months ago i was ironically snorting drugs off an old book in my friend’s bed, i was drunk most days, and couch hopping. i had no energy to apartment hunt, i was thinking of ways to quit my job, and i was fooling myself into getting my “shit together”. in two months i’d drank away nearly $4,000… how is that even possible?

you see, that’s how i mourn loss. i self-destruct and i hit the snooze button until i’ve dug myself a hole so deep i can barely see the light. in the matter of seconds i’d lost my boyfriend, his family, a home, and my will to work. i had literally given up on everything and i was just waiting for a miracle.

i don’t remember what made me change my mind- but i did. i found a place to live, i put some money in the bank, and i finally quit my job. i had no real plan other than swim, because i’d been sinking for far too long. i fought hard to get the job i have now, and despite everything… i love it. i love the long hours, the hard work, and the stress of it all. i drink four coffees a day, i have no time to eat, and my boss is totally nuts, but i’ve found my niche- and against all odds… i’m good at it.

i don’t know what it is that keeps me writing about the past. i’m so consumed with immortalizing what is clearly dead- i’m consumed with what once was, and what will never be. i am so stuck on reliving the four worst years of my life, that it’s staggering my emotional growth. i have always been so fucking wrapped up in m and his stupid ability to control me, even years after i’ve left him. what is it about being broken that is so fucking easy?

i keep using all these horrible experiences as excuses to not get close- to not let anyone in. i figure if i don’t scare them away with all this baggage, then they’re too fucking crazy for me anyway. how funny is that? you know why my relationship with andy failed? because he knew i was afraid it was going to. granted, he’d met me two months after i’d left m and i was still petrified he’d find me, but that’s beside the point.

my emotions are unhealthy. i am unhealthy. and i need to get healthy if i’m about to let anyone in at this point. i have a big heart and my intentions lately have been mostly good… i need to move past this.

i’m just having a really, really hard time.

there are power lines in our blood lines

i’ve been drowning in wedding stuff- and i couldn’t be happier.

you know… usually regular-elle would totally be throwing hissy fits because waaah, waaah, my life is shit and everyone’s happy and successful but me! waaaah! i’m selfish, etc. but for reals, internet? i couldn’t be happier to announce that my brother and his fiancée are getting married this august. jo will officially become my sister-in-law, and cory will be the first kid in the family to be starting his own little family.

growing up, cory and i were always close. we had a lot of similar friends, or were always able to hangout with each others’ friends because we were only three years apart. i mostly grew up surrounded by boys, and all of my brother’s friends took me under their wing and treated me as their little sister. my brother’s best man, dom, is considered a third sibling, and i love him with all my heart. i love seeing their wedding party, and knowing that these people have known me since i was just a little kid. they saw me get in trouble, and succeed, and they were around to see me cry and hug me when boys broke my thirteen-year-old heart. my brother (and all his close friends) have always been protective of me. cory used to wake me in the middle of the night, step on the bottom bunk, reach up and tap my shoulder: “hey! let’s go talk!”, he’d say. we’d sit in the basement watching cartoons- pouring our hearts out. i never really opened up much as a kid… but cory used to drag me out of bed and force my secrets out. no matter how silly or important, he had my back. that’s what i love so much about him, you know? he may not be able to fully wrap his mind around the things i tell him, but he respects them, and he loves me regardless. he used to stick up for me to our parents and tell them i had a lot going on. “she’ll be fine”, he’d say. and he always made sure i was.

it’s been harder these days. cory’s worked very hard to be the successful man he is today. he had a few humps along the way, but he’s stronger than me in that sense. he never got sucked into a lifestyle that didn’t promise for a bright future. he slacked off as a kid, but christ… he was a kid! he smartened up, went to school… he’s done so many amazing things for himself, and i couldn’t be more proud. he worked hard to be in this amazing spot in his life. cory and jo have been travelling- together and alone. they’ve been planning out their future. they just moved into a beautiful old home in a trendy spot of the city. they have barbecues and they go on dates, and they’re so in love. and that’s all i could have ever asked for. for a woman to love my brother as much as he deserves to be loved. someone who awakens his mind and pushes him to be everything he is, everything he can be. jo has been such a positive person in all of our lives, and i knew the very second i met her that she’d be my sister-in-law. i knew that if she could handle family dinner, the holidays with the french side of the family, my mother’s insecurities, my father’s wacky sense of humour, my brother’s hard-head, and my sarcasm and heavy heart- then she had to be the girl for my brother… for our family.

i’m not going to lie… sometimes being around them is hard. there are many decisions i’ve made in my life that have staggered my emotional growth, or my personal advancement. i’ve been held back so much over the last few years, and a big part of it is my fault. yes, i could have done so much differently, and had i just listened to my family (and friends) i could have saved myself years of agony. but i don’t think it’s too late. on my darkest days, i ache for an easy way out. i miss the care-free lifestyle of house shows, malt liquor, parties, and unemployment. but the truth is, (and as easy as it is for me to return there), that isn’t who i am.

i remember being fifteen and watching one of my closest friends pop some ecstasy and then smoke crack from a beer can. and while slutty girls in zebra print skirts and mohawks were hanging off him like he was the fucking man, i just remember thinking: what the fuck am i doing here? i sat in the back of the basement, listening to the sex pistols and the libertines, drinking my beer, and hoping to god the friends i grew up with that had just snorted a few lines of k weren’t going to overdose. one of them passed out on the floor, drooling and mumbling. that circle of friends tried to keep some sense of normalcy… by going to see movies at the theatres or having barbecues and beach days. granted those days were fun, and yes we did do some productive things and i experienced a hell of a lot. and i as much as i cared about some of those people, i just remember thinking that this wasn’t going to be my life forever.

i still see some of those people, and yes they’ve grown out of that phase. none of them do drugs anymore, and some of them have houses and cars, and jobs even. they look the same, and deep down, i know a part of them misses pouring beer on each other and screaming the lyrics of their favourite bands at shows, but we’ve grown up. most of them, anyway. the lucky ones, i like to think.

andy brought out such a wholesome person in me. he was the first person in a long time who could really make me feel again, and i’ll always appreciate him for that. i remember spending nights in bed together- telling silly jokes, laughing, having sex, and just being together. i think that’s important… i haven’t been in many relationships because i find it so hard to just be with someone. the first week andy and i started dating, he asked me to go over one night after work. he’d rushed home to cook me a gourmet meal- stuffed mushrooms, rice, squash… we ate dinner at the dining room table with candles and for the first time since i was sixteen, i was NERVOUS. i remember feeling my heart pound against my chest as i took small bites (wondering if i was chewing loudly), and kissing between sentences (wondering what he was thinking of). once the meal was finished he gave me some pj pants and we watched texas chainsaw massacre (i know, romantic). our legs were entwined and we must have had sex about four times… and i miss that, you know? i miss not being able to keep my hands off someone. i miss the feeling of having someone care about you enough to go out of their way because they want to, not because they feel they have to. i miss the effortlessness of andy and i’s relationship before we jumped the gun. andy and i weren’t meant to be together for many reasons, and i’m okay with that. i’m just glad i got the opportunity to feel again. to be good again.

and that’s all i can hope for, for myself. i look back on those four or five months i spent with B, dancing and fucking and not giving a shit about each other. and yeah, it was fun to forget for a few months, but that’s really not who i want to be. i don’t want to be some idiot’s dumb girl. i don’t want to sit in his filthy apartment, pretending i give a shit about someone i don’t, and pushing away all the thoughts of the things i want in life. granted, the kung fu movies were good, and the breakfast in bed was better than i’d expected, but fuck it.

i know what i want, what i always wanted. i knew what i wanted even when i was screwing my best friend, or smoking pot in alleyways. i may not have a traditional past and i may not look like your traditional suburban housewife, but that’s what i am at heart. and dammit, my feminist friends totally want to punch me in the teeth right now but i don’t care.

i want the quirky house in the old neighbourhood, and a garage, and a barbecue, and high-efficiency front loading washer & dryer. i want to cook all the meals, scrub the tub, and have a vegetable garden. i want to drive a fucking honda fit. i want to have a wedding, and baby showers and perfect little babies with off-beat names. i want to drive the kids to soccer practice and build lego castles and play house and i wanna take the kids to family dinner at gramma and grampy’s house.

i want what cory and jo have worked so hard on building together- a promising future and a happy, fulfilled life. so what if that makes me a cliché?

i want to be good again.

these are the humans i associate with?!

becca’s 4am dance-time hangouts on top of my fridge… waiting for a bagel

kevin, wearing my snuggie THE WRONG WAY (also sporting my pink leopard print panties)

blackout bizkoti- dead to the world

kevin’s pre-party-bubble-bath

becca and andrew’s post-party-pre-birthday-party nap

post birthday party breakfast- liquids only 😦

kevin pouring beer on his crotch, in fact confirming that yes, this one’s for his homies

the montrealers came in friday night and we went to a show down the street. casey’s band slept over that night and we partied until all hours of the morning. saturday was spent napping and cleaning. that night the troops came over for my birthday party. my engineer friend rob made a double sided beer bong that stood about 7 feet tall. i beer bonged a 40 of malt liquor (didn’t die), danced to new order until 4 in the morning with dan, and ate bagels on my fridge with becca and kevin.

on sunday night bizkoti and i went to modnight. i was a successful night until about 3:30 am. i’ll save you all the gory details but pranks were played, windows were broken, bizkoti almost bled out on my living room floor, ambulances were called, 7 hours were spent in the ER/OR, hospital supplies were successfully pulled from shelves and put into my purse (i pay my taxes, dammit!), my sarcasm was rudely denied by approximately 5 different doctors (the operating room is not a funny place at 6 in the morning- who knew?!), mc donald’s breakfast was consumed in my bed at 11:30am monday morning upon my return, and my back was rubbed until i fell asleep.

it was a 4 inch laceration and she barely missed her achilles tendon and an artery. suffice it to say DIS BISH WAS LUCKY!

anyway, bizkoti is resting up at her mum’s place in the east end of the city, and is under strict orders not to stand on it for at least 7 days. luc was amazing enough to stay at my place, mop up the pints of blood she lost, and take care of moose the cat while i was taking care of bizkoti and robbing that hospital blind. needless to say i made an amazing first impression on my neighbours (who i’d only met a few hours previously), and i totally had to turn the pizza man away (who we’d called on our way back from the bar). bizkoti was a champ though, and mostly held her shit together (until the needles came out), and i’m just happy she’s okay.

although slightly jealous that she’s on bedrest and eating pizza in her underwear, watching cable at her mum’s place for a week straight.

maybe i should start kicking people’s windows in?

i’m only half-kidding.

i have honestly never seen that much blood in my life.

it was some straight up CSI shit!

i am basically horatio.

thank you

i always feel like i’m in a bit of a rut between moves.

i get the keys in three days, and i move in ten. i don’t have to worry about much packing because almost everything i own is in a storage facility half-way across the city (cue tiny violin and wrist slitting). i put all my movies and books into boxes last night, at my parents’ house. all i have left to do is take everything off the walls, and put all my clothes into garbage bags.

but otherwise, i spent 90% of the time living on these girls’ couch or bed- and it has been quite the experience.

i’ve known bizKoti almost ten years, and i’ve known khala for about a year. they took me in and completely took care of me when i needed someone the most. i spent most of my relationship with andy in isolation in our house. granted, it was winter and i was lazy, but i was lonely none the less. i spent most of my free time cooking, hanging out in our giant bed with the cat, or with his friends. i’m so grateful bizKoti and some other friends made the trek out to my house to party every once in a while, but being away from andy has made me infinitely happier. he’s wonderful, he’s handsome, he’s funny, and i loved being around him- but it wasn’t the life i wanted. i missed my city life, being surrounded by all my friends, and being independent.

i can’t wait to get that back.

i’m so grateful for everything khala and bizKoti have done for me. all the late nights, the dinners, the early mornings before work spent laughing in the washroom, the inside jokes, the naps, the shopping, the trips, the amount of times bizKoti showed me her vagina to cheer me up, the dancing, the bottles upon bottles of wine, “would you?”, … i missed having best girlfriends i could really rely on (something i hadn’t had in years)…

i’m so glad my new place is only a few blocks from theirs, so i can still harass them and eat their food when i feel homesick.

i love you babesicles.

proof

sigh!

my friend chloe is making me some 30mm plugs so i can finally give andy his earrings back. which also means i can swing by our old house and pick up the last of what i left there by accident. which means one less things to worry about!

i’ve started picking up a few house things – a dish rack, soaps, shampoo & conditionner, a bathmat, a shower liner, toilet paper, tin foil, etc… i’m feeling more and more anxious to get into my apartment. i moved out of andy and i’s house four months ago. it may not seem like much, but it’s a long time to sleep in my parents’ office (or friends’ couches, or B’s crappy fouton “bed”) with every thing i own packed up in a 5 x 10 storage locker halfway across the city. i was going through some saved pictures i have here at work, and found a picture of the vintage steamer trunk i picked up from an old couple on craigslist. it seems so silly, but i cried. i hate not having MY things in MY house. and having them all packed up for so long… i’ve forgotten most of what i have.

i moved out of my parents’ house when i was seventeen years old- and believe me, of all the really shitty decisions i’ve made in my life, that was by far one of the shittiest. i’ve been collecting stuff since then… passing it on from apartment to apartment (i’ve had six apartments since i’ve moved out, if you’re not keeping count). i’ve gotten rid of almost every single thing i’ve owned since living with M in my very first apartment. it took me a year to throw out a tank top- the one he ripped at the collar the night he he’d lifted me off the floor and shook me like a rag doll. i still have the laundry hamper he bought us- the one he put together, sitting on our bedroom floor, the one our dirty clothes sat in together. i still have the $50 black leather couch that sat in J and i’s appartment- the one my bare back smacked against, over and over as M hurled me onto it, shoving me, calling me names.

i hear friends talking about travelling, or moving to a different city. “i’ll just sell everything i own”, they say, and i can’t wrap my mind around that. maybe i have sentimental attachments to my belongings, because i’ve had to throw out and give away anything that i’ve shared with M. my friend asked me why i was buying all these things again… “you’ve had six apartments before this one… don’t you have these things already?”. the answer is yes, i did.

i had a record player- the one we used to spin “classic love songs” on, the record he grabbed from value village for me. i had a lazy boy- the one that sat in his mother’s basement before being the first piece of living room furniture we owned, the one we sat on together, covered in my baby blanket, watching movies on a 13 inch TV. i had a bed- the one we slept in together for almost 3 years before i had to learn to sleep in it alone when he decided to go backpacking for a few months to “figure himself out”. i had a computer- the one with every single picture we’d taken together since i was sixteen years old, the one he used to check messages i wasn’t allowed to see.

i had a lot of things, you see. but i stopped listening to records when he left, and the record player was somehow broken when i tried to use it again in my fourth apartment. i left the lazy boy in the second apartment i’d lived in. i left the bedframe in that same apartment and threw out the mattress after my fourth and bought myself a new mattress in my fifth apartment. the old computer with our memories eventually broke and i left it on the side of a busy street when i was in my third apartment.

our mismatched dishes were trashed, i’m sure. i threw out the barrell we used as a side table and i packed up all his clothes to bring to his mother’s basement after he’d left. i kept one of his skateboards- i painted it and loaded it with pictures of my dad and i- it hangs in his office.

i’ve tried desperately to erase M from every apartment i’ve (we’ve) lived in. every time i’ve ran, he’s found me. he’s left pieces of himself in every home i’ve been in. but not this time- i’m so close. i have money accumulating in the bank to replace that leather couch- the one he both loved (and broke) me on.

all that’s left is the M box.

it sat in andy and i’s basement. i don’t even think he knew it was there. it’s the box M’s red doc martens came in. it sat in our basement, wrapped shut with heavy duty tape, inside a box inside of another box. it seems so juvenile but it’s the only part of M i can’t imagine disposing of. a box of love letters and sticky notes he’d leave by the bed while i was asleep. his gym pass, his necklace, our scrapbook. pictures of us and drawings he’d make me at work. i’m not even sure what else is in there- i haven’t opened the box in over a year.

maybe when i have a new couch i can actually sit on without cringing, and a laundry hamper that doesn’t remind me of sorting M and i’s laundry in his mother’s basement… maybe then i’ll consider getting rid of the box- the only tangible thing to prove M once loved me- the only tangible thing to prove i once cared about anything.

the only tangible proof that i’m capable of love.