mandatory retreat

mandatory retreat

You show up unannounced again, three days after I say I can’t see you anymore and six weeks after we meet. I would have told you not to come. But you caught me off guard, like the day I first saw you.

There are things that I do and things that I have done that you will never know. It’s why you can’t keep coming here. It’s why I never should have agreed to see you twice.

You think things about me that are not true. I order my fourth drink during our third dinner together and you say, “Man, I can’t drink like that, especially not on a weeknight.”

One of the things you do not know is that I was never a drinker. Except you always come near midnight. Before I go to sleep, after I erase another day.

I live in a room of cracked screens with no furniture. You never ask why, you think it’s because I am eccentric. You do not realize how I have been unraveling for nearly 36 months and I want you to stop coming here before you know anything about me at all.

You read my writing but never mention it. I know all the pages you have scrolled. You don’t know who they were for. And he never cared.

And that is how this happened.

The morning of your latest visit, I woke up unrecognizable. Tangled in a pile of blankets on the floor. I sobbed to sleep thirteen hours prior and my eyes swelled to the extent where opening them the next day was a task. A legitimate project. Fellow midtown sidewalk dwellers bashfully acted like they couldn’t tell when I stumbled across the street for cigarettes.

You still don’t know that I smoke.

The last day I will see you, I am two bottles of wine toward sleep when you decide to show up. It’s the center of another manic tornado of evening when I am struggling to leave him in the past and stop thinking about you.

And while this may sound and seem deliberate, it is nothing more than a severely tragic accident. Something that went terribly wrong.

It never should have happened at all.

I wake up having forgotten you showed up, again. Cubes of the night prior immediately pound the inside of my skull as soon as I realize you’re on the mattress beside me. An alarm sounds and I’m sickened and relieved by how quickly you disappear.

Watch how fast I evaporate.


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