This was maybe the summer of 95, living in the apartment near where Napoleon plotted that famous battle that gets replayed every year, the actors falling to the ground again. This film is on a maddening loop. I don't remember much; or I remember so much but this memory comes to me like a series of snapshots, disconnected. I remember pressing my face into the carpet and crying so hard, the nubbins of carpet dug into my forehead. I'd left with just a suitcase, and when I'd been here a month you sent me the shirt I always used to borrow. These clothes, these clothes don't fit us right. I never told you but I wore it for years, long after we'd stopped talking, until it was more holes than shirt and I finally let it go.
Man, I could cry then, I could WAIL, cracked open and the pain just poured from me, then, and there was so much. I'm to blame, it's all the same. What's funny is that at the time I felt pretty dried up, emotionally. I woke in a pool of blood and moved and woke in a pool of tears and moved and woke and knew that while I would never get over the past I would never have to repeat it, and so all my tears were crystal memories.
You come to me with a bone in your hand. The letters we wrote and wrote, fingers already cramped over the fifth page and nevertheless tearing the sixth from a notebook, poetry, trying to be the more honest one, the more generous. You come to me with positions. Playing emotional chess by post, each move took three weeks and each move counted. You told me how when you were in bed with her, your breath on the back of her neck kept her awake, your guilt for that, the clench in my stomach, the hairs on the back of my own neck at attention to imagination and memory, but all I wrote was that you had misspelled bed, and was calling it "bad" Freudian or what; you wear me out, you wear me out.
Maybe things were too far gone by then. Years. Self-hurt, plastics, collections. I came home and sold half my things and gave away the rest, walked down the middle of the street with you, didn't want to trade you but couldn't hold you either. Came to your door late at night, broken, and your exasperation with me was palpable. But you didn't want me to leave, either. I was central, I had control. Every time I pulled at the tether you tugged me back until I don't even remember which one of us let go. It's crazy what you could have had. Oh, I can't finish, it goes on forever. But I need this; I need this. Needed.