The Orange Dress Part V: The End of the War

No one writes stories about peace time.  No one comments about the lull of happiness, the daily bliss of being together with someone.  The trivial things, cooking a meal together, watching a movie, falling asleep next to each other.  It isn’t until it’s snatched away that we feel the gaping hole it leaves.

The relationship was a constant struggle of “if you could be a little less you” and “If I could be a little less me“, like two obtusely misshapen pieces of luggage trying to fit into a specifically finite amount of space.  With craned necks and tucked knees we tried so desperately to fit each other.  But like luggage we are made out of soft spots and hard surfaces.  Some things we can bend and adjust, but other things, our core, our fundamentals, our essence, will simply crack under the strain of change.

I realized she would never be caring and compassionate like all the women who filled my life growing up. I would never be cool and stalwart, able to take weather her fury without retaliation.  I would always be a clingy heart with a short fuse and a hair trigger.  She would always be a passionate megaphone attached to a fist.  These are things we cannot fix, things that should not be fixed, because that would change the very core of who we are.

Try as I might, love alone could not brute force fix us.  Relationships are more than just about love. It’s about comparability and timing, and people told me that repeatedly but I could never understand that until now.

Digging in the Basement

They built a house with a white picket fence, with big dogs, big love, and all the trappings of romance.  But she spent her nights pulling up the floorboards digging for corpses and whatever scent of remorse she could find.  But digging in the past got everything dirty; it stained their curtains and their sheets.  It clung to their feet and tracked around their lives so much so that they forgot the color of the carpet.  And he was all the more defeated when they life they built became covered in mud, of what was and what wouldn’t ever happen again.  

Thrift store Jacket

I  scan the aisles of discarded things.  Underpaying homage to bygone days and fashion flings.  Everything I tried was a size too big or a style too old.   Searching scouring, until finally– I found it.  I Rifled through the pockets and ensured the zippers zipped, while trying not to think of the person who wore it before, and the reason their garment was discarded to the thrift store.  And I hate the way you smell, because you smell like someone else.  And every torn seam and frayed sleeve tells of your history without me.  But you keep me warm. And I’ll keep you safe.  Remind myself that I’m the one you’re draped around today.  And soon your pockets are filled with our things and the places we’ve been.  And I’ll never leave home or brave the cold without you again.  

The King of the Mountain

I am the King of the Mountain!

Hard pressed’ and beset
on all sides by usurpers
and conquerors,

I have won the struggle to the top.
So that all may fear me,
so that all may envy
the glittering prize
I have clutched within my fist.

Regardless’ of my milky blind eye,
and my lame leg lost in the pursuit of it.

My entrails spilled’
and lost somewhere among
the thorny bluffs,
but still on I pressed.

My heart slipped from the hollow
cavity of my chest,
so that when I beat upon my breast
plate all the others can hear is my roar–

Victor!  Conqueror!

And from a distance down the steep sides
they can’t see my limp or my scars,
all they see is me and my prize.

I am the King of the Mountain!

I do not sleep alone.
But I have given up all that was of me… t
o sit upon the mountain throne.

I am the King of the Mountain!

I am.

The king.

Of absolutely nothing.

The Pyromancer’s Daughter

You’re like fireworks after new years,
that warm glow after a few beers,
or adding too much spice it burns so far down.

You’re the hot breath of a fevered kiss,
the tingle trickle dribbling on your lips.
You’re the best of everything
of anything good I’ve ever known.

So when I’m out and lost
all I want is to come home.

The hours drag by without you
burning long and slow,
but a day in your bed
elapses quicker than striking a match head,
and pretty soon it’s time to go.

Time with you is barehanded catching smoke.
There are no wrong ideas,
only miss-picked fights,
Because when I look at you,
the light bends a halo
round’ your head.

You the prism of my heart,
reflecting and refracting,
the dullness day to day into a
passionate fire instead.

I squint and lose perspective;
are you close or are you far?
If I run into the distance,
will I kiss you or will I miss you
by trusting my own misguided heart?

So I’d rather run blind into the flames.
Because you’re the best of everything
of anything good I’ve ever known.
So when I’m out and lost
all I want is to come home.


The Orange Dress Part IV: Social Media is Killing me

A breakup is like twisting an oreo cookie with a partner.  One person is indubitably escapes with most of the proverbial cream filling, while the other person is left with various smudges of their dignity clinging to an empty chocolate wafer.  I am the raw cookie.  Whatever was shared between us, she took most of it with her.

The internet, and namely social media is slowly killing me.  In the wake of a breakup, as the one broken I am left wondering constantly as to where she is or what she is doing.  But thanks to Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and twitter I know exactly.  I know what she ate, I know what music she’s been listening to.  But it’s not really her.  The internet makes no mention of the pile of dirty clothes on her floor, or the way she grinds her teeth when she sleeps, or the way she’ll stubbornly believe anything her gut tells her to, regardless of the copious amounts of proof to the contrary.

There’s a study published in the Newyorker: How Facebook Makes us Unhappy naming the “social comparison” we feel when we look at others on the internet, measuring the satisfaction and the happiness in our lives compared to the lives of others.  Social comparison is kicking my ass.  The internet provides a 24 hour voyeuristic view into her personal life.  At my weakest moments, when I am the most alone, her whole life can be sprawled out in front of me on a glowing screen.  Only it’s not her whole life, it is the “best-of” reel of everything she’s ever done or experienced.  Each glossy photo is meticulously chosen among many.  The one where her hair falls perfectly.  The one where the light catches her face just right.  The one where her breasts look heavenly.  It’s a clean and tidy storefront of exactly the life she wants to portray.  It’s ribbons and lace.  It’s perfume and polish.  And my aching heart, battered and bruised as it is becomes all the more damaged each time I look.

Twenty years ago this wasn’t a problem.  Maybe a friend would see her out somewhere, and that would get passed back along eventually, but for the most part people were left alone with their thoughts to mourn.  In this modern day and age, all of the internet works against me.

The ideal solution is to just not look.  To put it all away and think of this as a growing moment.  But I know I can’t shut out the internet.  It travels with me in my pocket, it courses through my television set, and sits atop my lap at night.  Lap – top.  It takes a second of weakness in the dark of my bed and I can have her prettiest face in front of me on my tiny screen clutched in my hand.  I can’t beat it.  My own curiosity eats me alive on the daily. So instead I will counter it.

For a while at least, this blog is going to be for remembering exactly what I need to remember.  So every time I see this face:

I can remember that it’s also this face:

Sushi Mouth

…and who she really is, is somewhere in between these two extremes.  Not the perfect made-up fantasy the internet and my imagination has created to haunt me.  But the girl I took out to eat sushi with no makeup on Halloween because we were sick.  Someone human and flawed, full of perfect imperfections.  This is going to be my fighting chance for maintaining my own sanity in an otherwise insane time.  Wish me luck.


The Quarry

Two soul mates drawn together, but fated for love misaligned.  She was born one week too early’ or him, one week to late, through a cruel twisting of time.  So when she whispered “I love you”  and all he heard was “I’m angry” echoed from the week before.  When he said “you’re the one I come home to”, all she heard was “I hate you” and so they fought.   When he finally mustered his apology– she was already gone.  He was left’ haunted by echoes and shadows yet unable to respond.

 He couldn’t live without her, so he encased himself in stone, vowing to spend the next three hundred and fifty eight days alone.  Within the walls of without her, he withered, wishing to be out there, somewhere with her; whether she understood him or not.  He would  be a gentler lover, speaking adoringly of her, so as the weeks turned, there would be nothing to be misheard.  Not – one – word.  Her name and his love became a prayer on his lips, whispered repeatedly and clutched to his chest like a crucifix– until his last breath left him.  

She had traveled a great distance and burned a good length of life, when her queried heart turned her gaze to look behind.  Finding his old  quartz quarry she wandered inside. And there, she heard him for the first time.  Over and over again, the cavern was filled with the echoes of him.  Her name.  His love.  His life. 

The Pirate King

The Pirate King craves a woman made
of earth and stone, hearth and home.
She reminds him that even the endless seas
are bordered by mountain peeks,
and ultimately’
they do end.

She is his homestead;
the big X on his heart’s map.
She is his guiding north star.
She is hist rusty oar
and the renewed strength in his arms.
She is the wind to push him in the dead calm.
She is the lighthouse to keep him off the razor-rocks,
she is his crow’s perch
and his sandy berth in dangerous tides.

She is the dirt under his nails to remind’
him of the gentleness of her shores,
And at last with land is under his feet,
After traveling the atlas–
He returns eagerly, to her doors
to look in her eyes,
wanting nothing more–
–than her.

The Orange Dress Part III: Reconciliation

We miss each other… the way two warring snipers miss each other for hours or days on end.  The battlefield is littered with fog and smoke, obstacles and corpses of who we were and the wreckage of it all.  We fought a prolonged campaign of long distance tag.  A text message.  A late night phone call. Both hiding and shooting but never truly making any real contact.

We waged this war for weeks.   All I thought about was her.  All I wanted was her.  But all I could muster is a stray shot every few days.  Missing her was a constant gnawing pain, a fever that pulled at my bones and muddled my head.  But missing her, taking that chance to start a dialogue only to have it ignored or brushed aside, that killed me.   No matter how many times I thought over the phrasing or the timing, how many times I rewrote the lines it always came out like the sharp crack of a bullet spiraling down the barrel of a rifle.  There would be no re-connection, no rekindling.

I knew there were guys taking her out on dates… social media let me be eaten alive by my own curiosity-monsters as they gnawed at me relentlessly.  I checked in on her frequently, now an outsider peeking through a window on my lap into her quickly fleeting world.  I hoped somehow she was doing the same.  I buried myself in other girls, each one more shallow and hollow than the last.  No amount of rouge or soft skin could satisfy me.  Each experience left me feeling all the more alone and missing her.  I hoped she was feeling the same.  I hated every single one of the guys she was out with.

Finally, she texts me that she’s dropping off my stuff.  She’s leaving it outside of my car in my parking spot, unwilling to face me directly.  This makes me furious, to have my things so casually and cowardly discarded.  I tell her I have things of hers to give her.  She says she’ll wait.  I bolt down the stairs with the tattered Orange Dress in hand.  I see my things piled neatly outside of my car.  She’s parked on the side.  I stride up to her and throw the dress through her open window.  I go back to my car and begin putting my stuff away.  Weights.  Books.  Heavy things from our past life I was too quick to grab, things she laboriously carried back to me.

She exits her car.  I hear her car door close and see her approaching me  I ignore her and continue stuffing my belongings into my truck.  I hold tightly to my anger, unwilling to feel anything else.  She catches me in an embrace.  We stand there in silence for what seems like an eternity.  Reluctantly, my arms wrap around her.  I’ve missed this.  I’ve missed her warmth.  I breathe in the familiar scent of her hair.  My mouth finds her mouth, it’s a salty and hungry kiss.  I press my body against hers, feeling the squish of her breasts against my chest, the curve of her hips against my own.  Instinctively I put my hand between her legs, reaching up her skirt.  She stops me.  I can see the the same passionate hunger gnawing in her eyes, pulling at her.

“Do you want to go driving somewhere?”

We go barreling up the mountainside in her car.  I look over at her; she’s more beautiful than I ever remembered.  More alive, more vibrant than ever before.  This time apart has refreshed us, renewed her energy and renewed my thirst for her.  The orange dress is on the floor of the passenger seat at my feet.  I wrap it around my foot, like a fork twirled in rancid spaghetti.  It clings to me like a wounded animal.  The road we’re on is a series of hazardous switchbacks, zigzagging back and forth.  I can’t take my eyes of her.  She keeps looking over at me.  There’s a strong likelihood these longing gazes will end up getting us killed.  The dress is in my lap.  I stroke it, like a super villain stroking his cat.  There was something important I was supposed to remember about this dress.  Something about the texture.  Something about the color.  Something tugging at the nape of my neck, ready to unravel everything.

“Throw it out the window!” she yells.

“Just like that?”

“Do it!”

I dangle the dress out the window, my clenched fist unwilling to let go.  The wind whips it from my grasp pulling it out into the black night.  With that one sweeping gesture, every past slight is forgotten.  Every wrong and every fault of who we were and the damage we did to each other leaves the car with that horrible tattered garment.  At the top of the mountain, we’re together.  Talking, reconnecting.  The misery that I carried with me for months drops off of me like a heavy iron cloak and instead we are draped together in a joyous veil of each other.  It colors the night so the stars sparkle brighter, the air tastes crisper, and every breath every second is better than the one before it.  Eventually words fail and steam fills the windows, we’re doubled over each other in the backseat.   We drive back to her place and the night fades in a tumbling blur of sex and ecstasy.  I wake up with her face inches from mine.  I spend the morning just gazing at her, trying to relearn every curve, every line, every nuance of her face, a memory I tried so hard to repress.  This is the happiest I’ve been in months.

It isn’t until the next morning, the glowing morning haze when she’s driving me back to my apartment.  I spy something on the ground of the passenger seat.  A torn strap from the orange dress, a little twisted larva wriggling for survival.  She hasn’t seen it.  I tuck it into my boot.  I don’t know why I kept it– but I did.

The Black Moth

Shes sawed frantically at the cord,
desperate to free herself
from the beast that dragged her.

A monster that snapped and popped,
un-furrowing like a giant moth
spiraling in the night.
It tugged at her heart
and it jerked at her loins
as it spun and dived;

it kept her restrained and confined,
squeezing her tightly against her will.  

It jackknifed’ through the air
deftly avoiding the branches and snares
she cursed it as she would
a garrote around her throat.

With her little blade,
she gnawed at the cords that bound her.
Finally in a breath a victory–
she cut herself free…

…and she fell.  

As her parachute was left to sail in the wind.
An unburdened kite, all the more lightened.