The Places We Used To Live

Every time I walk down the street, from work or downtown, I have to walk past apartments I used to live in. They stare at me with blank, unreadable faces. The numbers leaning crookedly on the gate and the empty windows of light against the navy sky. My mind slips as I pass them and I catch myself on the ice.

I feel like a snail, moving so slowly, surrounded by the empty shells that used to be my homes; the lives I used to live inside of them discarded and dark.

If I walked into them now they would be empty, the phantoms of my past hovering in the corners of my eyes.

Here, against the tile, is the place he would sit and talk to me while I relaxed in the bath. My fingertips might still feel out the spot on the bathtub ledge where he would leave me chocolate oranges, raised slightly from the ceramic like braille. I would let them melt against the roof of my mouth and then he would kiss me, hands in the hot water, until I could feel him in the marrow of my bones, sweet and tangy. I would sink under the water, letting the bubbles reform above my face and hold my breath until it burned, and there he would be laughing when I emerged like a fish leaping from the water.

And there, in the kitchen, is the spot where he broke one of those free glasses that came with the twelve-packs of beer. I can still see shards of glass between the woodwork.

I can still feel him, like slivers in my skin.

Tunng – Bullets

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6 thoughts on “The Places We Used To Live”

  1. Love this line in particular: “the phantoms of my past hovering in the corners of my eyes.”

    I feel like this often. Also the whole thing reminded me of the Sandie Shaw song “Always something there to remind me”.

    You have a wonderful gift for words.

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