when i open my eyes, you’ll be gone.
i open my eyes. it’s dark and it’s still raining and the tines of my broken umbrella are reflecting the headlights of the cars going north. where am i? Locust. still a way to go.
i count down the streets as a mantra as i walk. Locust, Spruce, Pine, Lombard, South, Bainbridge, Fitzwater, Catharine. i cannot remember nor do i care about the smaller named streets in between these. they are tiny, no parking, barely wide enough for an 18th century horse-drawn cart to fit into.
this is the thing that people don’t tell you when you’ve lived in one place for a long time. the streets, the parks, the cafes, the bars you’ve gone to fill up with memories, so everywhere you turn, there you are. your past self is inescapable.
at first, building this history was all in fun, like a badge of honor, almost, because the tales and romances of my misbegotten twenties are light and harmless, stories that are easily told and forgotten.
what is happening right now – the things that are chasing me – are not fucking around.
is this where it happened, i wondered. i was at South Street by now. is this where the heartbreak took root, where it began to grow. we laughed and walked together down these streets and all the while things were falling apart and i never knew.
this time it was the real thing, the thing that changed me, that scrambled my feelings and my brain in ways that are emphatically not fun and seemingly undoable.