I’m walking home in my Sunday worst with my dirty eyes to the ground searching for cockroaches. The air is hot and thick like breath. Your shadow is sticking to me even more relentlessly today. Do you miss it? But then again, I bet you’ve left pieces of your shadow all over town; shadows of kisses and promises… and then later the cold feet of indifference.
You know, usually I hang out on the rooftop of my life. From there it feels as though the sea is my garden. I am closer to the sky. I can sing with the wind. I like to throw parties as if I’m freeing birds. So I am dealing with this the only way I know how: I pass out smiles like cocktails. I carry trays of lazy gazes, little hor d’oeurves of mystery: maybe, just maybe, I might let you kiss me. I like to splash around in the attention, knowing all the while that I’d rather be lounging on a lilo with you. Still, I’ve learnt how to throw one heck of a party. There is even a fountain of chocolate compliments whenever my ego needs to be sweetened.
Because this is what heartbreak is. It’s turning the music up even louder, wearing higher heels, inviting even more people into your arms. I am a victim of pride but this, admitting to this pain, does not embarrass me. What matters is not that I got hurt. Nor that one day you might found you had the power to do that. This is not about you and the rare opportunity you had, to be in a position to do so. This is not about you. Publicising this is alright with me because what matters is the fact that you didn’t break anything else of mine.
This year I have endured a plethora of tests: panic attacks and manipulation and betadine baths and starvation and burns and disappointing friends. And none of this broke me. And then there was you. And you should have been the sunshine after the storm. It has been raining for almost a decade and this year it poured so you should have been the reward. But you weren’t. You were the hail. And perhaps that means that you should have been the straw to break the camel’s back. But you were not. Instead, you are another tool to help me drink my cocktail of perseverance a little bit faster.
And so right now I am a little drunk, I know that. The Universe should have paced itself. I was not thirsty for more pain. I could stop this party and think about the injustice of it all. About how I scared myself into being happy, and finally left the door to my heart unlocked. About how the first person to come in was you, and the only thing you did was break into my bedroom and mess up my bed. And then leave before I even came home.
But you never know who is going to crash your party; I should have been more prepared. There is no quota for bad luck. It was naive and arrogant of me to believe that there is some limit as to what one might have to endure in a certain amount of time. So the injustice of it all is irrelevant. Panic attacks, third degree burns, heartbreak. Bad timing.
I guess I should be locked in my panic room again… and I won’t lie: I have been hovering next to the door for a while now. But really, what I’d like to do is go back out and join the party. Because life’s better when you have drunk friends and pretty dresses and other men.
And after the party, maybe next week, I might stumble into the garage of the past, just to sit in a car whose keys I have hidden. I will do this just to think about you and the weak words you shot at me; rusty bullets in a drive-by. I laugh about it sometimes. I bet you weren’t expecting me to chase after your car with rocks. You didn’t think I had it in me. You should have. You met me a week after I got out of hospital… at a concert. That should have told you something about the person that I am. But you don’t know me. Because you never wanted to see me in more than two dimensions. And I was so vulnerable and so scared, and everything was moving so quickly that I could never find the right words to say. Me, the writer. The one that never shuts up.
And then later still, I might fill up water-balloons with my tears, knowing full-well that they are going to go limp in the corner of my living room while I fall asleep, tired of thinking, free cry in my dreams. I know I will not get the chance to throw them at you; we are separated by oceans and pride and different desires. But I keep filling them up. Because, this time, I am intent on being prepared.
In the morning they will have spilt across the floor and I might slip. But then I’ll get back up again and go find a mop. You see, if I have learnt anything this year, it is that it doesn’t matter who comes in and dirties me up… I keep a bar of hope in my pocket. And I am not afraid to use it.