memory #9

neon green light suffusing tables in a sickly glow, sparsely attended bar,  cowardly cup of malibu & pineapple condensing in my sweaty left hand, my right one preoccupied with two part time jobs- texting barely restrained bitterness / wiping away the hot surge of unwanted, unwarranted tears- unwarranted in its predictability, in its contextual familiarity that i had set myself up for the fall in the final act of this lousy play in this empty theater just me alone on stage with a monologue read solely to my dog and a bottle of hydrocodone prescribed solely for my disappointment to be summarized in the weird and uncomfortable moment my voice broke across a tinny skype call to a stranger 2500 miles away as i said i'm not okay, i'm not eating at all- so then on that night awash in the green light my heart collapsed in a palpable, visceral way while he told me between measured responses in cold gray bubbles that there was another girl spending the night and then i felt the weight in my chest finally giving away and collapsing hard through the stopgap measure of nightmares and netflix, dragged down with interminable velocity and the gravity of realization- the sickening epiphany that the worst brand of heartbreak is a self-inflicted one, that i was never swimming closer to shore but treading water while the landscape drifted further away, that i was out there on this ledge by myself the entire time, nursing a small fire i kept burning in the back of my chest cavity (a small and shuttered space leased month-to-month) for him in stubborn defiance of meteorology.

but then you held my hand quietly and drove me home, and for the first time in our friendship there were finally no jokes or quips to exchange.  and this is why i clutch on to a memory that once burned with humiliation.  because the narrative shifted that night, the photo reframed itself, the gray bubble reassembled itself to that text you sent that i still read and reread so many months later- the only love letter i have ever received.  this memory is like your apartment in las colinas suffering from an architectural flaw that cracks the front door open when the bathroom door slams shut- in the same night i finally nailed a coffin closed, a warm light turned on somewhere in the distance.  i followed it to you and i am finally home.