I let my room grow messy. Clothes empty themselves from the closet and arrange themselves in piles on my carpet like raked leaves. I pick out a shirt, inhale, shrug, and pull it over my head. I finger comb my unwashed hair into a high ponytail and don’t really bother with makeup. I throw out my contacts and slide my glasses up my nose. I hide my neck in several turns of a wool scarf and climb into my red pea-coat, snapping my earphones into place and turning up the volume on my ipod. I practice avoiding eye contact on the street and admire the passing shoes of strangers. I’m invisible, now. I am unseen. A passing thought. An unimportant piece of the scenery that your mind blurs over and forgets. So easily erased.
I let the crazy out. I let it unfold and struggle out of its tiny compartment in my mind in all its long limbed and double-jointed glory. No bird of prey here; just one more masochist. It juggled nagging thoughts and painful obsessions in my brain and when I thought I was strong enough, I found that I was not. So, I looked.
They’ve moved in together.
They’re in love.
She has claimed my dog as her own.
He is all the things I asked him to be, but with her now, instead.
Each revelation is a soaring bird struck dead in the sky.
I am thigh deep in wet snow and black birds, peering into a warm house, watching the life I wanted open presents happily beneath an evergreen. My smiles blinking with the lights. My cocoa trailing steam from cup to mouth. Those are my marshmallows melting in her hand painted mug. I hope she recognizes the difference between homemade and store-bought. I hope she realizes a hand has been molding the sweetness here. Even if there is no trace left. Even if the memory of the making is gone. Erased.
I pop painkillers to stop the sobbing. The chest convulsions and the pathetic hiccuping I watch floating above myself, looking down. When the numbness hits I gather up the pictures I’d been saving. I run a bath and while I wait for the bubbles I take a lighter to the edge of our faces. The glossy paper feeds the flame and I wait for the last moment—I wait until my fingers burn—then I drop it into the toilet and flush the ashes down.
Just like that. So easily erased.