Percocet, Vimovo, Flexeril
I’ve got them all
Some people collect novel things; stamps, Elvis memorabilia, heartbreak.
I collect pretty little pills that I stuff into an old prescription bottle, every once in a while tipping the bottle over, watching the colours bounce off each other onto the bedspread.
I still remember that date. I remember it as well as I remember many things. As well as I remember the fragility of life.
The life of a bird. The life of a mother. The life of intimacy.
This date was all of those. It was everything that you could ever name. It was the day that my life began.
I often think upon this as the day of my birth.
To some, I might be thought of as a mad person for writing this. Perhaps you never want to hear from me again. Perhaps you won’t open this letter.
Maybe you will find no use for this other than as the kindling for your fire and I will have spent however many days that I will spend romancing my pen, translating the thoughts of my heart into ink on paper, for no reason at all.
If this is the case, you will hear no refutes from me because even if I cannot warm your heart— I am content with warming your body.
Please do not play into my words as simple self-pities and regrets— this is not my intent. This letter is for both of us. You and I who were once bonded by more than fleeting thoughts that end in tears and old tunes that neither of us can stand to listen to now. For different reasons.
No, this letter is not about any of that. It is about admittance; acceptance; release. Perhaps, even understanding. I write this with a tired young mind, bogged down with unfamiliar memories and a dissolution of familiar ones that are over six years old.
To think, the children that were born when our romance died are finishing their journeys of kindergarten. This is the year of their lives when they start taking steps toward their independence. To think, at the age of 21, I am now in need of the guidance of a six-year old. To show me how to break free of the shackles of dependency. Although it is not you that I depend on because you are no longer here.
My fragmented memories of you are what I ferociously depend on. The ghost of you still sits in the background of my life. Silently waiting for me to acknowledge it once again. As I always do. The sound of “I love you” is still fresh to me this day— speaking out of the voice box of a Teddy Bear named “Lynnell.”
Some nights I still lay in bed with Lynnell in my arms, squeezing his palm whenever I need reassurance of a feeling.
I often wonder if I cross your thoughts. If you think of me. Or if you might wonder if I think about you and the time we shared. If you wonder about that.
Not a lot. But every now and again— there you are. Pale blue eyes, light blonde hair that curls up at the ends, and that crooked sideways smile that you gave to me every time I laughed.
Just an old lover of mine, standing in my backyard waiting for me to come out of my house to meet him in the field for our first date. You waited for a long while and you thought that I was fussing over every last detail of my mascara and smoothing the wrinkles in my skirt.
No, my love. None of that was of worry to me. Because as I peeked out my old venetian blinds, sitting on my bed that you always complained about, and saw that image of you waiting for me out there in the field— I knew that you weren’t waiting for my perfect mascara, nor my perfect outfit. You were waiting for me.
And I couldn’t take my eyes off you.
It’s said it takes seven years
to grow completely new skin cells.
To think, this year I will growinto a body you never will
-Brett Elizabeth Jenkins
I wish you were sitting there next to me.
And every time,
I go there hoping that I’ll walk down the ramp and see you standing at the end, looking out on to the river. Just like you showed me how.
I never do see you there though.
Sometimes I think it’s because you’ve forgotten about this spot you showed me. Sometimes I think it’s because when I told you to stay away from me— you wanted to do the right thing for us for once. You finally fully listened to something that I said.
Or maybe, you do go down there. Hoping for the same thing. Wishing we could just stand next to each other, talking about how much we hurt each other and all the mistakes we made all those years ago.
But just like always, we never arrive at the same time— a lot too late, or a little too early.
Because even still, I haven’t met anyone who knows me like you do.
Two weeks with you was all the time I needed to find the strength to throw all of the tangibles of my past out.
I sorted through that box that I held so dear to me, the evidence that I had been loved, and without any hesitation, I put it outside on the corner to be taken away.
I went through every item one last time, and I thanked the men who had given each one to me. I thought about taking pictures, just in case I ever needed them again. Just in case I needed reassurance later. If you and I somehow didn’t work out.
And just as quickly as that doubt came, it disappeared just as rapidly when I thought of your face.
A few years later, my reassurance has left.
Without even giving me a choice.
I often think about death. Not about committing such an atrocity against someone or myself, rather, the shift that would set after such a thing.
Death is a funny thing. It’s unlike all other things. It’s everything that life is not. Death isn’t music, sunlight, or grass.
It isn’t laying on a dock reading.
Death isn’t even sadness, or anger, or happiness, or any other thing that can be felt.
An empty space where something used to be, or ought to.
It’s just a void, and it leaves a little void every time it happens. You could take this as a death of anything if you wanted to. A relationship, a pet, a failing mark. But I’m talking about a real, physical, death of a person.
I’ve felt a few shifts and with each shift, I’ve lost a piece of my self and gained an empty space.
And the thought of gaining another blurs my vision and makes me feel so incredibly weary.
Tonight, after dinner as I was washing the dishes, my father said to me, “do you want some of this for lunch tomorrow?”
And I thought, “what’s going to happen if I never hear those words again?”
There will come a time when that piece of me falls out, and a void settles in. And through these thoughts I was able to mutter “sure”.
Afterward, as I walked away from him, I turned back and I tried to capture an image of him just like that, bent over washing dishes. Trying desperately to hold onto it because there will come a time when that’s all I’ll have.
And I want to say yes to as many things as I can, and smooth over as many angry spots as I can before that time comes. Because I know what that void feels like when it’s covered in uneven bumps of anger and sadness and guilt.
I wish to freeze time momentarily. Just long enough that I can memorize every sight and hear every sound and feel every surface and cheek.
Just enough time to rest my head on your chest and count the number of beats in a minute.
feels like a compressed thought urging itself to release, span out, release
it tests my willpower and causes me to question my past and current ways.
I want to talk to You always.
I want to break the threads of silence that we weave between our selves for the build up
so we don’t lose interest
so we’re constantly curious and wondering and crazy for the break.
I don’t want to talk to You always.
I want to close the distance that we have no way of closing right now
to lay with You in the silence of oxygen and carbon dioxide, inhalation and exhalation, expanding and contracting diaphragms, stillness with movement of fingers finding empty spaces in the others
I want to hold you always, breathe with you always, kissyoualways,beyoursalways
toholdbackfrommypsychoses is to hold back from you
but as long as you are always there to hold back from, I will always