looking outside a square window into the city


Can there ever be drama without someone dying, or someone leaving, or someone lying, or someone cheating? Can there ever be a love story when there’s no one there to love? You used to ask me these things things all the time as you sat with your blank notepad on your lap, looking out over the balcony for answers. At the time, I never knew how to answer your questions. I’d reply with something timid, like, “I don’t think so,” or I’d avoid the question altogether by asking another question like, “Hey do you want to watch a movie or something?”

I couldn’t articulate it then, but what I really wanted to do was place all of my feelings in a plastic bag and hand them to you and tell you, “Hey, look inside this bag, and you’ll find all the answers you’ll ever need.” You were so alive in your own thoughts and your own insecurities that you failed to listen to everything around you—the tears of the river, the laughter of the wall paint, the jealousy of the wind, the heartbreak of the moths. Have you ever been brave enough to open your heart out to the world? Have you ever been brave enough to reveal everything, to break yourself apart so that every part of you could be inspected, prodded and then put together again?

I haven’t spoken to you in so long. And when you left, I didn’t know what was more painful: when you were around, or when the thoughts of you lingered in our house. You were no longer there, but you were in everything: you were in the chair in front of me, you were in the music in the kitchen; the days you smiled, the days you laughed, the days we fought, the days we we shared thoughts, the days we were apart—what I loved most and what hurt me the most was when you were in my dreams. I didn’t care if they were sad dreams or happy dreams or nightmares—all I cared about was that you were there in my mind as I slept, and you would remain in my mind as I woke up.

I kissed the emptiness where you once were. I danced with the music that we both once shared. I spoke to you over the noise. I listened to you in the silence. For years I told the world I was whole, that I was complete. But that wasn’t the right way to go about it. As far as I know we all have balls of pain and laughter in our hearts, and we’re holding it all back, we’re pushing everything down and expressing our pains and our fears and our joys in the most dysfunctional ways imaginable. There is no shame in being incomplete. One evening I walked towards the city and I whispered to a building, “I’m all alone!” and the building smiled and whispered back, “No you’re not!” I found a tree in a park and I whispered, “I’m unhappy,” and the tree smiled and whispered back, “I have you.” I found some litter on the ground and I kissed it and I whispered, “I’m afraid,” and the litter smiled and whispered back, “So am I.” And I looked at the sky and I smothered it with you. And I looked at my hands and I remembered them being in yours. And I looked inside myself and found you resting in my bones.



Book I’m reading: The Bandini Quartet

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