Today I realized that I’d probably never see you again. Well, not as mine anyways. You’ll be listed under someone else’s last name. The Swansons’ or something. They’ll paint you different colors. Adriatic Sea or Celery Stalk or The Pearly Grapes. They might cut your edges differently, and rearrange your insides. The Swansons’ will change what you’ve always known. You’ll take whatever it is they give to you, and you’ll tell them it’s exactly what you would’ve chosen for yourself. You’ve always been like that. I haven’t missed you yet, but I’m sure I will. I know I will. You were my first. You’ll always have the first quarter of my life. Can’t you see that I had to leave? It’s for you as much as it’s for me. You can be greater than a section of my life, you can be a whole lifetime for the Swansons’, for their new baby girl. She needs you more than I do.
Around Christmas next year, I’ll tuck the car off the road, out of sight. To visit you. I’ll walk slowly down the lane towards you. You’ll have a new mailbox by now. You’ll be wearing different decorations, freshly purchased unlike our dusty decade-old white lights. I wonder if you’ll miss the phone calls from Santa (Uncle Bobby) at 8 am, the handmade stockings hanging on your windowsill, or the Rum and eggnog we’d spill on your floors when we stole a few sips. Will you miss my feet stomping down the stairs to gaze at your tree, hours before the sun is queued to hit to the northeastern sky’s stage? Will you miss your headaches from the snowmobiles we drive round and round and round and round, until one of us falls too hard and Mom has had enough? Will you miss the way we loved you?
Right now, we’ve left you empty and hollowed for months. And while I’ve never had depression like you have, I know what it is. It’s a rubber band my best friend snapped over and over again against her tiny wrists. It’s when I held my hand over hers, and a tear falls onto her sweater. It’s when she turned to me during the opening credits at a movie we were seeing at the local theatre, and says, “I can’t stop it.” It’s a midnight drive, towards you although we’re too drunk to make it. It’s a boy, a friend, who holds my face in his hands when I finally pull over. It’s his whiskey-soaked breath burning its way into my nostrils, on its way to brand my brain cells like a newborn calf with the words, “Don’t stop drinking long enough to sober up, it’ll ruin you. It’s already ruined me”. It’s in every inch of pavement lining the roads of our town. It’s in windows of the high school, if you look close enough. It’s laced in every beer served at the local bar. It’s even in you now. I left it there.
Pressing my experience, my emotions upon you, it wasn’t fair. You had to soak up the sobs that shook my body when I was rejected from college after university after college after university. You wrapped me in a down comforter when that boy said no, after I finally got up the guts to ask him out. Instead of feeling sorry for me, you showed me the stars through your clear panes; those burning thumbtacks giving us a sneak peek into the other side. All that wasn’t in the job description. I’m sorry that I left myself inside of you, a part that I’d like to forget. The bitter, naïve, bewildered sections of growing up. We all have a piece of ourselves that we hide away in the roots of our souls, away from the surface where we flaunt our developed trunks and growing fruits, budding flowers. I should’ve asked you before I hid that part of me in your cupboards, under the staircase, in the dust gathering on the ceiling fans.
Missed Part I? Read it here.