I have just about $29.00 in my chequing account. I am double-booked and thinking about triple-booking my first few days here because every where I look there is someone I should be catching up with. Someone I should be spending quality time with. I am head down rushing through the crowd trying not to acknowledge my emotions that are shifting endlessly impatient looking for attention. Look, I just don’t know how I feel about that, yet. I don’t want to think about it. The other night when P left me tear-streaked and trembling in my bed. Forget it; already forgotten. The awkward limbo while sitting a couple feet away from my ex boyfriend and his new girlfriend. My friends rallying around me:
“She looks like a squirrel.”
“She looks like lost luggage… What? You know, beat up and abandoned.”
“She’s got all the features but they are all squished up… I just want to take my hands and smoooooth them out!”
Her hands on my face and another martini in my hand. A casual pat on the back here and there. I don’t look at them because I don’t want to know. These emotions. Pushed down. Stomped on. I don’t engage in the bad mouthing because I don’t want to engage. Engaging makes it all real. Allows the thoughts into my brain. You know the ones. Images of passion. Images of intimacy. The irrational fears like maybe he is being everything that I wanted him to be, only with her, instead. Like maybe he could be that person, just not with me. In the end maybe I am the problem. There’s the real fear.
It’s the middle of the afternoon. We are draped over chairs on her patio guzzling wine and reading magazines. The sun inches across the wooden slates and they tell me how tan I am. I regale them with my most shocking Europe stories and get gasps in all the right places. I feel empty but hide it well. The adventure is already so far away. So buried in the past that I can barely graze it with my fingertips. I am floating without direction or purpose. I was supposed to find myself on this journey but I feel more disjointed than I did before. I have been shedding pieces of myself all over the country side. I have carved off the edges and tucked them in shirt pockets and under anonymous train seats. I feel unrecognizable and yet no one seems to notice it. I am screaming silently in a crowded room. I am losing my grip.
I drag a pine lounge chair into the middle of my yard and collapse into it. Not enough energy to answer the chime of text messages. Over the fence his apartment is dark and unyielding. It’s a beautiful day. They are at the beach, probably. Watching my dog run in and out after the tide. Barking at the waves with sea foam dripping from her nose. Holding hands naked feet in the sand.
I remember three-way cuddling on the couch. Our little family. What we used to call ourselves. A mess of limbs and kisses and fur.
Reality twists in on itself. It’s hard to tell what has happened and what I am embellishing. Maybe we weren’t that happy. Maybe we were happier than I want to believe. Across town, he is moving on; little family reestablished.
And here I sit. A ghost of memories and feelings. Head back sunglasses to the sun drunk on wine and new beginnings. Good riddence, I say. Then choke on it.