My whole body aches from a night I still can’t remember. I pop another pill combo of liquid Advil and Reactin allergy pills chasing them down with overpriced bottled water purchased from Hudson News. It feels weird to be in this airport so soon after my last trip. It feels weird to be traveling alone again. Across from me sit two senior couples dressed in various gradients of beige. They are the kind of people who have been together so long they begin to mirror the other’s movements. They chew in sync like cows in a field. I feel sick and have to look away.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I wasn’t supposed to be covered in wounds, bruised and battered from a night that fades in and out of my memory. I feel like I blinked and I missed it. You hear stories about this sort of thing and you know a friend of a friend who woke up once in an abandoned apartment building with no recollection of the events that led up to such a tragic end. You hear it, but you never think it can happen to you. That you could be another black statistic on a white page. The thing is that you are perfectly okay until you just aren’t any more. A cute blond in glasses and a blue shirt buys you a drink and you don’t think to keep your eyes on it and you don’t think what happens so often to others can just as easily happen to you.
I have three memories post-drink. I gather them in my arms and pin them to my bulletin board and I go over every blurry detail and I want to be sure that nothing happened but I can’t because I just don’t know. My mind is a drawer of random bits and bobs shaken heartily and then dumped into a bag and stolen. What’s left? A torn pair of jeans covered in mud and blood. Running and falling off a fence and losing my shoes. Sitting alone in the rain and crying. Head stunned on the pavement watching the rain blur the stars and thinking I could sleep now. I could rest, now.
Waking up naked in my own bed and not knowing how I got there. Trying to reconstruct a night that feels like the worst bender I’ve ever been on but with no hangover. Just disoriented, dizzy and confused. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
The flight begins to board and a little girl of six or seven watches me as I type. Her round face is wide-eyed and innocent. I want to brush the hair out of her eyes and protect her. Preserve that innocence for awhile. I was a little girl once, that’s what’s hard to believe. You collect these experiences like tokens, line them up on your mantel and try not to look away or forget, try to learn from all your mistakes. But, what happens when you don’t remember? When the token in question is a ball of clear glass that falls smashing on the ground? How do we go about collecting the pieces? How do we start making sense of it all?
For me it begins by boarding a plane and leaving it all behind and it’s not running away if you don’t know what you’re running from.
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Some Constellation