Gone now. An empty room I travel through, seeing what used to be there, the ghost tables and photographs, the thread chairs disappearing. What to decorate, what to add to this emptiness? But first the walking, barefoot, the reaching and touching of things that used to be here. Feeling the fade, feeling the ending, the going away as something active, present.
Drawing our names in the dust, tracing the sadness with my fingertips. Only webs and dangling threads left now, all the finished, unfinished remains.
In this room. This small room, this small house we made, this small life we lived in small moments with big, deep breaths. Empty now. Gone.
What to do with all this space? You should know I’ve found someone to fill it up, to reach into corners, open the blinds. Someone to dance me across this bare, dusty floor. But they’re not you. You should know.
Wrong place, wrong time. Don’t go there. Don’t do that. Skirt’s too short, street’s too dark. How many lovers have you had? Fresh meat. Store’s open. Men will be- Why couldn’t you- Keep your legs- What did you- In my day ladies were didn’t wouldn’t couldn’t.
Stack up the bodies. Stack up the limbs and hearts and dreams and thoughts and things she’ll never do. Because of all the things she didn’t do.
Or all the things she did. And everything she her we are.
Would you do it all again? If. If you had the chance to go back with what you now know, with what you’ve gained from all of that losing. Would you use what you have to change what you had?
Would you start with the girl drinking tequila from the bottle, the way she thinks his absence is something she’s done, the way she tries to undo it when he walks in the door.
Would you say it’s not cake if it’s just crumbs and stop her from taking that bite?
Or would you whisper in her ear that it’s just life after-all and say Go! Tell her to live her life and then write it? Because it’s all there on that very first night, the little addictions, the tiny cravings. The way she finds a relief in transgression. She is barely out of her teens but she already knows.
That most of what she meets will ask her to break it.
Would you do it all again? If. If it were to turn out exactly the same. Would you tell her to say Yes! to the men who invite her in then lock her out? Would you let her become nothing but impulse and twitch under the skin, let her lose her layers one by one in their arms?
Or would you tell her love this one a little more – and love that one so much less. Would you tell her that it doesn’t get easier than this. That her eyes are on stars while they all look down. And they’ll only ever want what she sees.
Would you do it all again? If. If it led to this?
Found this piece I wrote more than three years ago. Still not sure what ‘it’ led to, ha. Not easy to live without regret – perhaps that’s not even the point in the end. Might be more about living *with* regret and accepting it’s the mistakes that make you …
“Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
I don’t know when the idea first occurred to me. To come here. I suppose it could be the stories my mom used to tell me. They must have been lingering around, in that way certain memories might seem forgotten, but really, they’re right there waiting, and some day something or someone happens to push that memory front and center, as if you have been remembering it all along.
Maybe that’s what this was at first. A kind of pull toward my mother, to the city she always dreamt of. Or it could be that I haven’t been able to shake off Mr. Jackson yet, that the pull is toward him, toward the version of him who lived here first, and I want to go back to that time before me, and find him. Or maybe – the exact opposite. Maybe I want to be equal to him, to best him, after what he did to me. I want to do what he did, and prove that I can survive on my own. Now that he has cast me out.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m just looking for a horizon. Maybe I’m just looking for something to look at. After all of that looking at me.
I reach inside my bag, swing it to the front of my hip for safety. It’s still there, his Leica M6. I run my fingers over the raised metal and the smooth round of the lens. I don’t know why I need this proof. I’ve been feeling the weight of it this whole journey, the heavy bump and knock against my thigh. It is not as if the camera could have suddenly disappeared from inside my bag, but I need to feel that it’s there just the same. This is what I have. This is what I have brought with me, and it is a small triumph to know that he will soon realise what I have taken from him. If he does not miss me he will at least miss the way he used to look at me.