Night Sixteen ("A Year Ago, You Painted")

Sinking into the faux-leather of your couch has become almost normal by now, these nights. Me and the downstairs -- we understand each other. The kitchen must stay only slightly used; the windows i may have my way with; and that space under the steps is all Sierra. Day and night, a practice in normalization. Playing music helps; playing some music doesn't. But then the definition of 'helps' is in flux, too -- as in, when is it okay to feel you so distinctly not here? & when is it much better to ignore it? Still in the process of figuring this out, and will one day report on whether I'm able.

So strange, how while here it seems i must seek desperately for an anchor to keep tangibly abreast of myself -- while what is having a place to stay if not an anchor in itself? And your place, at that, where i've felt so welcomed & comfortable, so many times before. Though not as many as i would have liked, living so far away. Seeing the unfinished paint reminds me of that; the blue tape still lining many corners, and upon the glass of your wall mirrors. And not the only things unfinished, either -- your almost touch on everything, and everything still in waiting. Maybe me, too.

It's funny how one can know something so clearly that it changes the very structure of her being, and yet so conclusively cut off the conscious knowledge of it. I feel like I set the fathomless loss of you aside with the knowledge that I would be coming here to deal with it this summer, and now it's like I can't break the habit of intentionally forgetting. Yet when i'm caught off guard and do, the re-shock of forrealremembering is as harsh & unexpected as a slap in the face by a familiar hand. While talking/writing/thinking about it somehow keeps one at a safe distance from its truth...

In some ways, being here without you only makes the unreality of it all that much more real, if that makes any sense. So that it can't be. As does this process of normalization, which I thought ought to be a good idea. It's as though my mantra of 'it is what it is', now reads 'it is what it was', and going back has proved senseless.

-L (6/8/11)