Protected: To My Valentine, Although We Are Apart

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12/6/18

Grace is waking up as late as your dizzy, dizzy head needs to and knowing that a stream of angels will pass through today, that your bar manager is getting your day covered for tomorrow so you can move out of your apartment on time. It’s relocating your three customers on yesterday’s shift (favorites all–trusted–five years ago you lied and said you were a niece to one [you and another bartender who has resurfaced too] so you could visit him in the ER after he fell off his bar stool) to the far side of the bar so you could share the small space heater on the counter away from the doors. Love is when one sunbeam fought through the awful December sky and landed all over you and you caught one of them seeing you bask in it without any objectification fucking up the warmth.
 
This is what it looks like when your circle knows you’re tired. They carry you.
 
Your mother packed your boxes while you practiced the tease with Old Man _____ at the bar. Sometimes you held his hands on the counter. He’s a kind old man who hugs you and tells you to be careful when he leaves always. He’s the one who fell all those years ago. This, too, is love and grace.
 
You spent as much in the jukebox as you made in tips, but you made it through and home. That’s what counts on those days.
 
Today is different. Better and just starting. I could die this afternoon, but I probably won’t. The fact that I can even type that out means I’m wandering out into thinner trees. My Tribe will come like they said they would, and somehow this will get done.

Crazy Love

Boyfriend says it’s important to get up and shower every day.

He says, Leave the house for something. You have to or you’ll go crazy. 

I tell him, No major life decisions when you’re manic, and he agrees.

We talk for nearly an hour, his manic chatter recognized and named, my seizure-like anxiety (it’s sudden and physical, every molecule screaming to my central nervous system Something terrible is about to happen to you) tamed.

Thank the stars that he and I rarely sync up on symptoms. He’s Italian with a temper, and we’re both good with words.

The risk isn’t yelling, I said. We were gliding south on Lake Shore, one of our first car rides together. It’s sadness. We’ll drown if we’re not careful.

So we are.

Some mornings I wake up to a message that says, Love, I’m not okay today. On a good day, I ask him what I can do and he tells me, Nothing, you’re doing it. It’ll get better. It’s just bad right now. And it always does.

But self-awareness binds us; we disintegrate without it. We make nooses of guilt and stare at one another across gallows on the bad ones. We hallucinate fingers of blame, carve black holes in the sky around us. Climb inside.

When we come back out to breathe, we confess and offer absolution.

It’s okay to fall off the edge sometimes. Just try not to. Unless you need it, love. Then I want you to float.

 

 

 

Aside

22 Weeks

Image

The trouble is you never asked me to give it up —

the job, the scandal, the booze, the fun; I just knew
it all had to go if we were going to make it.

You said, “I think you like the way they look at you,”
and I could taste the venom on your tongue.  The only thing
you asked me to sacrifice was my figure for a child
whose promise may change my name,
one day,
to Bride.

If it’s any consolation,
they don’t look at me
anymore

and tonight, while you’re out
at the wedding, I lit all of the candles
on our porch
(the one room that you gave me
to be mine, the place you neglected
and never filled before I came,
but I still call
it ours). I looked at it
from the sidewalk. I was happy
with the glow.