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The wind had a bite. Quitting smoking apparently wasn't one of my new year's resolutions. Lights from an another apartment complex could be seen beyond a row of trees, resembling a starship. Above, spotlights moved around in concentric circles, most likely the same ones I saw 3 weeks ago outside Scott's apartment. That was the last night I saw him. It wasn't in me to wish him a happy new year after getting out of a late movie last night. Instead I stood in front of a wall heater at the mall's entrance, letting it fill my jacket with warmth.
I'd walked back inside and finished painting with Erin and her roommate last night. I felt my creative, painting orange coral, wooded mountains and starry night skies. When I got home, I wanted to text him a happy new year, but it was too late. I'd think about the pros and cons of it while waiting for sleep to come. This morning I texted, 'happy new year' without thinking, still groggy. He shared sentiments, but why didn't he say so yesterday? What did he do? I took the silence by the reigns, and did what I had to do. Focus.
I awoke to the darkness, thinking my alarm would go off soon, but it was only 3AM. I couldn't go back to sleep, so I had a couple bowls of cereal. The few light-hearted texts I sent him yesterday culminated with "LOL, whatever." No plans were made. No questions about my welfare during out hiatus. But at least I got him to laugh right? Respond? I went to the gas station for cigarettes, and watched myself nervously smoking in the mirror. The next day I would be direct. Ask him his plans. So I did, but got no reply.
Focus. Today I made it a point to just sit still and read. Feel my emotions. Experience the places my mind wants to take me. Food wouldn't be a concern because I had leftover Chinese and 2 frozen dinners. My phone sat next to me like some sort of black enigma, going off a few times. A friend said I was welcome for dinner and Scrabble, but as the day rolled on, I preferred to be alone. Someone I had met last week apparently only wanted to say hello. I would have welcomed his companionship, a strong arm around me.
Things. I was standing in line at checkout for awhile, as people dug through their purses, asked the cashier to repeat the total, and verified whether or not an item was on sale. I stood by an assortment of candy, and a bag of Haribou gummi raspberries caught my eye. I remembered bringing them over Scott's a few months ago. The bag of Haribou gummy bears reminded me of the shots we had then. His sweet tooth was even worse than my own. I started to get antsy as the wait continued and the Outfield's song, Your Love, played loudly.
Dream: I was somewhere close to home where I lived with my dad, but there was a more fantastical element to it. Apparently, there was a lodge I never knew about around the corner, and inside were a couple rustic looking aquariums with exotic fish. I traveled to and from home, past the fictional party store, going through sun sewn grass and steeply sloped hills. I must have been carrying water back and forth to clean the tank. I planned how to switch the fish environments when it was done. But I awoke to just my own aquarium, standing alone.
Please. I don't have time for this. I need to get my career back on track. I mean, the last break up I went through lasted for a couple years, and I only saw him for less than a year. I hate you. I love you. I won't text you. I will...something I'll regret. I can't block you. I will, to protect myself. I'm sure you've already moved on, so I will as well. But where will I move to? What has being with you accomplished? Other than a slap in the face and a half-hearted goodbye excuse?
I'm touchy. That's how I'd describe myself today. Just don't want to deal with anyone, except those that I have to at work. And even then, I felt like I only tolerated them. Work was slow, and it was a challenge to stay busy, but I tried desperately. I knew that it would keep my mind off things and make the time go by faster. Periodically I'd check my phone, but it remained silent. The new message light didn't blink, except when I signed onto a hook up app, but no one there caught my eye. We're all addicts anyway.
Sutures please, the doctor said.
Nurse Okawa handed her an electronic device with a bulbous tip, shaped vaguely like a Christmas ornament.
The doctor focused her even, green eyes on the wound. Lie still, she said gently, with a trace element of force.
The instrument lit up to a profusion of color that almost matched the intensity of the doctor's red locks, flowing past shoulder length over her powder blue examination jacket.
The patient looked more calm, but there were still lines of worry etched around his eyes.
Although not intending, I'm wrestling with myself tonight. Reviewing texts exchanged, and noticing how succinct and direct he was with each message. Whereas mine were more wordy, unfocused, hungry. Images were simply introduced into his messages. He was getting his new car, having dinner and drinks, gotta walk the dogs, friends are over-one of which I'm sure will crash on my couch, at the mall and bar, using a neti pot-jealous? Whereas my messages came from the netherzone of thought, desire and imagination. And an unrelenting need toward the end, made apparent as he was slowly skimming away.
Looking out my kitchen window, observing the light snow that had fallen, covering the courtyard and the roots of the big tree below. There was a light dusting of snow on a quarter of the walkway, just beyond the eaves. Early the next morning it looked the same, but a row of paw prints dotted the frozen path. Smoke rose in the distance against a sky of teaberry pink. The wind was cold and the sounds of cars were muted by slush. A train howled in the distance as the day drew me out and I closed the door behind.
It took about 5 cycles to get through the first intersection this morning. A constant issue when it snows is the difficulty of the lead car to regain its traction. And what, with the occasional semi-truck in front of you, that is a cycle in itself. I could only be patient. I'd already called my boss. Nevertheless I picked at a blemish behind my ear. Didn't matter, this time of year, with the ice and snow all over the other vehicles, it's difficult to get a good view of another driver. It's going to have to be slow, steady.
I dropped the yellow banded snail into the aquarium, among the half-eaten plants, ravaged by reproducing snails. The mollusk had a protruding tube that seemed to feel its territory, like the tusk of an elephant. I was listening to my mom try and hold a conversation. She kept forgetting what she just said, even telling me I said something I did not. A moment of clarity dawned on me through the rippling surface effects. Something was wrong. Was she high? Had to be. Didn't seem herself. Was it something I did? Or failed to do? What is going on?
This usually ends up being the last thing I do during the day. Sad, given the mindless tasks I do during slow season at work. Running endless inventory. There's paint trays, brushes, paper rolls, rags and respirators. There were even some shaded safety glasses I hadn't paid much attention to before, much less cared. My mind wanted to wander but I forced it to stay focused. The excitement that comes with leaving work has been subdued lately, because I know I'll be left wondering why people stop talking to people. Watched Dark Skies again tonight with Steve, chilling at home.
Emotions seem to function like a filter. When I was seeing S, I'd want to because it would help me to forget my responsibilities. But there was nothing to hold onto with S. He simply contacted me because it was entertaining to him. It was entertaining to me. Things would be fine. But then the responsibilities to others would surface. My mind became clouded, protective of my own equilibrium. I lashed out in defense, insecure. He took it. For awhile, until one time, he was done. I never received another text. I wrote provokingly, but it was all me suddenly.
I really like you, but it comes at a cost. You remind me of my brother. Careless. I don't know if you're good for me, but for some reason, I want it. I crave it, like a snail craves cucumber. I want your confidence. I want your lack of self control, your recklessness. I want it so much I don't even know what to do when I'm with you. I do what I think I should do. And I enjoy it, but I want more. I want a connection. Someone to talk to everyday. Someone to tell me to relax.
I thought about writing this entry tomorrow. I figured I'd have the memories of what happened today and just write from that. But it wouldn't be real. I wouldn't have been in the moment, with the goal of writing at hand. Writing is a difficult practice, with deadlines to be met, operating apart from the facility of inspiration. I took a photo of my friend's cardboard insert that the three of us have been painting on in our own sections. Posted it as a profile picture. I don't care what I look like anymore, I care about what I do.
I found a song I stumbled upon back in 2007 after a break up. Boards of Canada, Dayvan Cowboy. A melodic, intangible sound, soothing in its obscurity. The hardest relationships to get over are those in which I'm left being the dreamer. Happy songs turn into soft lullabies with dark undertones. I look pensively within, uncomfortable with what I see. Restless with the thought of being alone. So I do what it takes to have someone over, to experience that excitement again, looking out my bedroom window at the parking lot below. Heart beating in anticipation for that temporary fix.
My phone was in a fussy mood today. Started as I was waiting for coffee to brew. It kept ringing obsessively, leaving voice mail notifications. I tried to rationalize with it briefly, but it kept ringing to the point I had to silence it. Afterward, I coddled it, telling it what was up, attempting to use it to think about something else. Until finally, against my own personal gauge of the level of anxiety I was experiencing, I succumbed. That helped, but the device seemed bewildered the rest of the day, chirping with random, untimely thoughts best left to rest.
Two rows of fluorescent lights hung from the ceiling, positioned four feet above the sales counter and the tint station. There was no work to be done today except make occasional small talk and ponder my existence. What am I doing with this job? When am I going to find a better one? A couple times I tried to feel productive by opening up an outdated product manual, flipping through pages of paint cans, most of which I haven't seen or have been discontinued. The 'dating' app featured guys who wanted it now, or weren't interested in what I like.
I saw my pregnant platy floating on top of the water upside down early this morning, eyes the color of death. Today I cleaned my tank early and changed the filter again. Spent some time watching the water clear over a beer, when my mom called and said she wants me to find her another place because she doesn't like someone there. Did my best to talk her out of it, inwardly retreating from her, trying to protect my energy. Having dumped the beer early, I obsessively critiqued the updates I made to my dating profile, cross processing frazzled pictures.
I've been in a desperate search for another book lately. Ever since the library issued me another card after my existing one expired, I haven't been able to download anything onto my Nook. What time is the used book store open on the corner? I asked my boss. I have no idea, I haven't been there in years (she always uses her Kindle now). I could stop at my mom's and pick up a book from the hall in her assisted living center, but I don't want to be there tonight after work. I want to do my own thing.
I reentered my apartment today, aware of my closed mouth. I imagined it being closed the rest of the evening. There was once a class project where participants had to stay silent for an entire day at school. Apparently it was supposed to make it easier to concentrate. I wish that were the same with me. I can easily get distracted and make unwise decisions if I don't make a conscious effort to focus my energy on something. But at the same time, sometimes I find myself trying too hard to remain focused, and the joy is lost. Just being.
Slave to desire. Need it now. Tired of wondering about other's schedules. Looking to obtain that forbidden fruit that's always been there. Something others might think is gross. But that's why I like it. No one understands the power it holds but me. Sure there are others, but that's not what I need. No time for sharing, no time for compromise. Just give them to me, what's it to you? You're just kicking back. Relationships require compromise, tainting my experience with some unknown life experience. What lesson will you teach me, Alanis? Just give them to me and like it.
Haircut, bottle return, light grocery shopping, laundry, nap. When I awoke the light was already gone, but it was earlier than I thought. Brewed a cup of coffee, situated myself with a book. Thought about previous contact with others: texts exchanged, texts not exchanged. Time running past all of us. Wondering when I'll grab onto something solid. Something that will give meaning to the life I've lived so far. It all seems like a delicate balancing act. Looking into the corners of ones own mind, finding the right theme to live by, and sticking with it until the very end.
Tired of concentrating on little details, my mind wanders toward looking at the big picture. Last year, I was living with family temporarily. There was more interaction, which I enjoyed, but often avoided to be with myself and feel out things. This year, it seems I can be with myself as often as I choose, having my own place. But often I choose now to opt for interaction. My soul yearns for a connection. Pictures, un-hung, sit by the door to my apartment. A part of me doesn't think this will last. And it makes me sad, this unsettling.
Running through the gauntlet of self doubt, Sister Angelita slowly shut the door to her quarters and slipped down the hallway. A whoosh of white past the bend caused her to dash into another nurse's quarters. The white habit of the figure down the hall came into view. Sister May, the head mother and administrator of the convent. Angelita listened to the snores of the newcomer in bed, Nurse Ross. How Angelita guiltily harbored enviousness for the young, glancing backward at Ross sleeping on her stomach, a sculpted thigh muscle protruding out from under the covers. Time for a drink.
Apparently, I've not learned to adjust my pace. It slows down this time of year, but I'm stuck in the rush of last summer. Lifting 5 gallon pails of paint, talking to customers about their projects, melding different colors together to match a desired color. But most importantly, smiling at the jibes of repeat customers; simultaneously wondering where I'm headed. The deep cold in the air causes me to turn up my coat collar as I stroll down a quaint walkway downtown. Perfect lighting says this is a time of reflection and insight into what lies ahead of me now.
James wasn't relishing going into the woods. The gloom was increasing, and the hardwoods shot up like splinters in the air. Nevertheless, he needed to find the blue mushroom so he could develop an antidote for the kids who became infected with its toxins last week. He had no idea if anyone else was in the woods, but luckily they weren't too isolated, in that toward the back of them, where the boulders sat by the pond, a row of houses stood on the other side of the water. Utilizing his hand rake, he whisked aside dead leaves, looking carefully.
I dropped a thin slice of cucumber into my tank last night and found only the dark green skin remained. Some nights after work, I don't want to commit to anything, so I just have a drink in front of my tank. I listen to music, try to get rapport going with a friend, or someone new. Conscious of how much writing is involved these days when it comes to communication. I'm careful not to have more than one drink, because then the poisons may come out, losing my sense of humor and perspective as my exchanges become more verbose.
Long day putting away the truck with someone who didn't want to be there, yet attempted to overdo me in customer greetings. In the end, my experience overshadowed her, regardless of her small arguments as to what should be done next. In truth, I would have preferred to be somewhere else as well, but I knew the manager would know what happened. When I got home, I was tired. Needed a drink, but it wasn't enough to relax. So I watched Californication on Netflix. Worried if the 2 beers would cause a seizure. Mad at my ex's silence. Just unsettled.
The Tip Jar