not quite sleeping, fast in bed.

so i'm up for my usual insomniac bout. reading a book, texting truncated conversations with an absence.

i just had a cigarette on the front porch. the smell of the air reminded me of a night in august four years and two apartments ago. it was so hot that night - i don't know how cold air and hot air can smell the same, but they do.

it was the first time brandon had slept over, but just slept, and on the couch. i was a strangely naive 23, and still not sure how to make the jump from couch to bed. we had bare feet, and i was wearing a slate blue tank top and pj pants - pink with hearts, a valentine's day present from my mother. there was a top that matched. it was overkill and i gave it to the goodwill, but good pj pants are something you keep.

i had brushed my teeth and was walking down the hallway. it was an awful hallway, running the length of our almost railroad apartment. there was a flourescent light at one end, and it was wood panelled and narrow. two doors at opposite ends, with nothing in between. somewhere there's a picture he took of me walking to the living room, with little drops of water and toothpaste staining my tank top. he loved that picture because i was so real and honest in it, and i realized that there is an intimacy and purity in unadultered reality that i'd never known before.

neither of us could sleep that night, and we ended up sitting on the front stoop at 4 in the morning, with our respective pj pant legs rolled up, touching knees and whispering so that we didn't distrub the city.

one year (one heartbreak, four months of space, one semi-back-together) later we were riding our bikes on the fourth of july. i had already fallen once because of him, and we took another tumble on the way back from playing in some sprinklers. there are pictures of our skinned knees together on the curb. he got it worse than i did, but the accident was caused when he grabbed the back of my bike and pushed - well intentioned but poorly executed. friends at the party were angry with him for not being more careful with me. i still took care of us: washed cuts, ibuprofen, water.

it's strange to think that someone who left me so bereft is now this beautiful set of memories and things that float along at night and have a taste and smell to them. tonight there is a sense of things going on: some sort of activity in the ether that can't be spoken or even defined with words. like you just reach up and pluck the past out of the breeze, to look at for a moment, and then let it drift off again. i am in love with the idea of somerville keeping my secrets and memories safe on its porches and stoops and quiet streets.


MDG said...

That thing going on was my drunk ass walking (stumbling) back from the T and probably singing along with my MP3 player.

Duffless said...

That was really well written, I could picture all of that like out of a novel, and yet I know its real from your life.

Gouda said...

That was the sweetest thing that I ever read. Your attention to the littlest detail is such a testament to your ability as a writer. However, it probably speaks more to your awareness of your loved ones, as well as your ability to process how you feel at a given moment (in this case, loving contentment) and instantaneously stash away the diminutive things that will help you remember those feelings best. Your post sounded nearly theraputic, in the sense of warmth it had.

I want to say something like “God, I know exactly how you feel, because x,y,z happened to me” but that would just minimize your heavenly post.