Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Grief in Five Acts

Dear Internet,

We got drunk and I missed the last night train.  When morning finally came and I was seated comfortably in an empty car, I nestled my head against the glass and fell asleep.  Forgetting how I left you naked.  Forgetting my splitting headache.  And the blisters on my feet.  The train jabbed me awake somewhere in the middle of the countryside.  I pressed the heels of my hands to my temples but I did not move, even when the conductor announced the next stop.  Instead, I traced the trees on the window pane and inhaled the musk of the morning hours.  Not ready to face the long ride back.

It slipped out of my hand and bounced.  Once.  Twice.  Before cracking.  Three even pieces on the hardwood floor.  Three like our family used to be.  I dropped to my knees, pressed my cheeks to the shards, and began sobbing.  Your aunt gave you that dish.  It was for special occasions.  Two apples painted on the bottom with a heavy hand.  I found the glue and prayed it would hold.  It now sits in my kitchen window three seams visible in the morning light but you still haven't come home.  Yet.

You dared me to swim to the sandbar.  It was summer.  The sky was cloudless.  And my nose was cracked and peeling.  I dove under wanting to impress you.  But the water was thick and warm like syrup on pancakes.  It was heavy as I pushed against it.  Halfway there and panting I turned to wave to you but your eyes were on the shore.  I rolled onto my back and let the water pull at me unable to swim back to you or towards the far shore.

I was over dressed.  A Marilyn Monroe on the steam grate but with polka dots and too much breast.  You stared as I twisted the cork, wary of my youth.  My eyelashes and smooth skin.  And when you began speaking there was nothing rational I could say.  Instead, I pulled harder, the cork firing like a gunshot in the small galley kitchen.  A rush of air and bubbles.  Relief.  Although half the bottle was wasted on the floor. I walked away without a click, my heels long ago kicked off.  I still think about you sometimes, on your knees with the paper towels.  But I've never been sorry.

I wrote it all on a piece of paper and tied it to twelve balloons and I let it go, instead of sending it to you.