It’s strange to think I live in someone else’s journal. I assess others with rare hesitation, but to be simplified myself from a life form to a name—a factual detail that carries little significance other than my having been there, in that document-worthy moment—can feel unjust. My actions and intentions in that place paralleled nothing with this other writers’, so he cannot write history for me. And if he were to analyze that situation from my perspective it would be dimly related to truth by my standards, because that’s just the way we work.
That’s why it’s not fair to write about people and label it non-fiction, because what can be universally true when no human thought can be rightfully proven as equivalent to another? We went to the river after work and Justin wrote it as the perfect day. For me it was a nice day, but didn’t breach my top 50 of “best days.”
And so this excerpt is not fair because it’s not entirely true, but because truth is unattainable please allow me to still write on matters that are very real to me, like this thing that once was love. I can’t call this thing love anymore—I have higher expectations for love now—but it’s a ceaseless thing, this untitled feeling, that keeps me dreaming of love even through my ambitious journey of “personal growth and self-discovery” (such a righteous task I set out to conquer, is it not?). It’s a loving ping, this one, who resurfaces in forms of memories, ponderings, anecdotes and flash images throughout my day. Of course, it is a someone rather than a something, and he is the precious fossil fuel that runs my internal motor. He too, is the gushing oil leak that is polluting my waters.
He’s complex: a changing wind. Who isn’t, I guess, and who wouldn’t want to be, I suppose, with life as angular as it is. I praise the ambitious who try and see it all.
He’s a puff of smoke: all consuming and a lingering presence long after the last drag. He’s the collaboration between tobacco and carcinogens, bringing pain to the lungs but a frenzy to the brain that’s strong enough to spark another stick from the pack and keep me bumming for cigs all night for that burn. If I had any sense, I’d accept I don’t smoke.
But my sense instead tells me he’s maple syrup: a sweet, raw, slowly dissolving elixir that coats the mouth with little dancing sugar crystals.
In contrast, if one were ever to become what one ate, he would be an onion, and rightfully so, for he’s a harsh and delicious pearl that adds flavor to everything, making it worth the tears to peel the layers.
He’s Regina Spektor’s “Calculation” and a car crash, so in part he may be my shitty new-old car as a result. Which I just spent another $835.98 on, by the way. I had three bewildered mechanics circling me with my rusted and/or broken parts in hand, excitedly considering scenarios of what could have happened to me. If he lives as a metaphor in my car, he is also the cake I consumed to celebrate death redirected.
He is represented by ordinary images throughout my day that he’s claimed as his own, whether they always were or have only recently become associated with his name. These daily reminders of him are not so overpowering to express outward affliction; they’re easy coming, crisp thoughts, like the snap and development of a Polaroid. But the number of things my mind relates to him is impressive.
He’s in every good song, or every questionable, experimental song. He’s in every jet stream overhead because he once pointed out to love them and so I’ve enjoyed them since. He’s attached to every speeding bicycle, pair of classy shoes, cup of coffee, clove of garlic, American Spirit, French expression, Wes Anderson flick, connection to Canada, scent of oil and grease, unconventional dance party, affair amount of gardens and some key individuals. I drove 2,000-plus miles to rid myself from these reminders and find myself in San Miguel County, thinking differently and the same.
He’s a continuous pain in my heart but he is continuously keeping me in touch with my heart, so I welcome these pings, which are mostly fond memories anyway (Disregarding Canada. It will be a while before I can overcome the bitterness associated with Winnipeg’s Starbucks-crazed streets, swanky imported cheeses from Wisconsin and an empty room for twelve.).
May you dissect my heart freely with an explanation formed by your own imagination. Perhaps I’m lovesick and it will pass. Perhaps this is standard thinking for a species so driven by one another. Perhaps there are times when I am a wave to the ocean, voluntarily curling over to honor something greater. There are also times I ride to the shoreline.
I found myself in a farmer’s market the other day, taking in the smell of fresh lilac. For half of a moment I wondered if he liked that smell too, but then thought it doesn’t matter, because I like it anyway. My liking of incense may be rooted in him, but my love for lilac is created by a natural design.