When it comes to breakups, pain is inevitable, but Humans thinks that suffering is optional.
"Why are you still here? Useless b***h!" he mumbled as he stumbled in the front door. At that moment, she knew what she had to do. "I'm moving out," she said to herself in a low voice, knowing he wouldn't hear. But he had already gone back out the front door, leaving the door wide open and slamming the gate.
I have the worst habit of playing things over and over again in my mind; the same memory, shifted and permuted and warped with each recall as I try to think about what I might have done differently. How my life may have turned out if I had said something a little more smooth, stopped fiddling with my jacket zipper, or even just reached out to hold her. Ruminating. Apparently this is called ruminating. The reason this is bad is because you can never change the past. Do you know that? I don’t know if I fully do.
The key turned slowly. My hand was moist. The key slipped a little. I took a deep breath. I was careful not to drop the tightly packed brown paper bags of organic food I’d just carried three blocks and seventeen flights of stairs. We paid top dollar for a penthouse in central Tokyo, yet today of all days the elevator decides to stop. I could feel my shirt sticking to me, my hair was soaked. The humidity was higher than the midday sun.
The house was a tangle of hallways, with voices pressing in from all around. She turned each corner expecting to meet a face, but they were empty, all the way to the bathroom. In the mirror she was a magpie.
"Don't forget me," she says "Not that you could" she adds, laughing. I stop writing and look up from the notebook. She's smiling, but looks concerned. I nod my head, and try to reassure her "You're on the first page." It doesn't work. She's worried, but trying to hide it. I can tell. She always plays with the ring when she's worried.
We all meet people who we remember for the rest of our lives. They could be a random stranger that we only meet for 30 seconds. They can be a friend from elementary school. They can be someone we dated. For me, it’s Manolo.
On the train alone at midnight, I found Johnny Brown’s notebook. It was underneath the seat across from mine, forgotten like a gum wrapper. I know you should never touch things on the subway, let alone on the grimy floor. But I felt compelled to at least see what it was.
As a child, Charlie loved spending time in freshwater creeks while her father looked on. In the mudbanks along the Catawba River, she dug through dirty snow to pull out earthworms in winter and hunted for rocks flecked with pyrite in summer. She waded into the streams to look for the black, beady eyes of a crayfish shimmering two inches beneath the surface of the water. From atop moss-covered rocks, she watched the minnows flit around her feet until her legs got numb from cold and her father called from the side to tell her it was time.
The Next Chapter
She could still feel it. The words, a gut punch still gasping for breath. “I think we should break up.” “I’m going to to need you to move out.” Her mind still tried to wrap around the words spinning in her brain. Bursting out the building doors, feet swerving at the ground she turned left up the sidewalk, barely viewing the people she passed. Were there tears streaming down her face? Was she audibly sobbing? She honestly couldn’t tell, and for a brief moment she wished she had brought sunglasses as cover, despite the weather. But the thought dissipated as fast as it came.
The Celadon Tomb
It had been a year of unstable realizations – or perhaps more apt, a year of realizing instability. Everything that had seemed settled suddenly was not. Four moves inside of a calendar year, family health drama – the mental kind, which had been underwritten for years with shallow and misguided “solutions” that had ultimately compounded further the fractures in need of repair. Then there was the breakup. The longest, and arguably the most successful relationship he had ever managed, however, boundaries had never been a strong suit, especially, when in love. The third move to the shabby sublet on the west side of town proved to be the final straw, and whatever was left between them disintegrated – this rented house, was not a home. Finally, as the summer wore on and the necessity to move a fourth time forced itself into the astral assortment, he was dismissed from his job, just as the ink was drying on the latest lease agreement.
Sweet, Sweet Fantasy
Champagne flute in hand. Makeup and nails on point. Hair pinned back under a stunning double edge with ribbon, fingertip length veil. Lena danced around in her silky satin slip to Mariah Carey’s ‘Fantasy’. The bride to be and bridesmaids all posed for selfies in the mirror. These were the last moments leading up to the most magical day of Lena’s life.
Dear Diary, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Dear Diary, Today was yet another mundane, unfulfilling day. All I managed to accomplish was attending my online classes and showering. I couldn’t even find the motivation to do any of my school work. How is it my dream to be a writer when I can’t even tolerate the sight of a computer screen right now? In other news, I ordered a salad from CAVA today. Sean wanted lunch too so, like the loving sister that I am, I got him a salad as well. Now he owes me $7 for his lunch. You didn’t think I’d let him get away with not paying me back, did you? I gotta go, diary. I really have to get some work done now.