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Jan 2018
Life is better than it used to be. But in a different way. She doesn’t feel lonely, like she used to, but she does feel lost which she never did before. She spends her days with books and tv shows; she likes their constant comfort. She drinks on most nights. It helps with the pain in her chest because she can’t seem to forget how much she still wants him.

She tells herself she’s damaged goods, a throw-away. ***** helps slow that down, too. Unemployment never seemed like it could be so hard, she thinks, but never, ever says out loud. People hate her for her jobless yet decent lifestyle. They call it laziness, but she knows different. It’s called aimlessness… purposelessness. Just trying to trudge on.

She goes on week-long benders with a boy. For five days, all they taste is ******* and being ******, glass bottles of ***** (because he likes that too), and fast food (delivered because they’re bedridden) if one of them remembers hunger. It’s films and television and long, long talks about anything sad and bursts of tears that dried up years ago.

After it’s over—only because he actually is employed—she walks around the house, dizzy from being in bed for days. There’s only trash and rotting food, empty bottles, all on the ground, covering every surface in the house. The air has a stench that she’s used to by now: a colorful mix of un-scooped cat ****, open cans of cat food, spilled drinks, lingering smells of **** or **** or sweat.

Even two days after, she can still smell his come inside her. She smells it with her fingers after taking plan B for the third time that month, though, mostly she doesn’t keep count anymore. She wonders if she’ll still be fertile when she’s ready for kids. She wonders if she’ll ever find someone to have children with now that he’s gone.

There are bruises on her wrists in the same spots, reflecting each other. They’re red then purple then the impression of his teeth fades. This is because she likes that. To be bitten. Hard. And hit, in the head, until her ears ring. Hit on the ***, where she also has four stretched out marks from a hand. She likes to be cut—stomach, arms (old habit), legs—but many lovers are too timid or concerned, so she takes the steak knife or the wine opener and makes them watch, softly saying, “Like this.” Sometimes they’re not afraid after that.

A day comes once a week when she decides it's time to stop drinking. To make herself available to the ache of her insides and outsides. The heartbreak and loneliness and love, still the main components of her soul. And there's also the awareness that she is entirely grateful for the ****** boy and his kindnesses. His honesty. His openness. Kisses. Hugs. Advice. For a week she's sober, trying Whole ******* 30, exercising, dealing with all the thoughts. Watching tv and reading for their comfort, trying to look ahead.
Written by
MJ  Seattle
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