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One year ago
I was someone else entirely
A year ago, I moved to Philadelphia. I wanted and needed a new beginning. I swore up and down it was for me, and that was mostly true, but the rest of it was for someone else — someone else who couldn’t have and shouldn’t have been expected to hold even a half of what I was going through, and still survive. Though part of me feels like I’m on the other end of a tunnel, the other part is still grieving, feeling residual trauma from the lows I experienced in the throes of last Fall.
I wrote this piece for my class in honor of this week:
On my first day of my new life in this new city, a man who isn’t a man carried my things up four floors and broke my window blind. He then dumped cat litter in the alleyway, laid on my mattress for a smoke break in the middle of the road, and finally, suggested we get lunch. On the first day of my new life in this new city, the person who claimed to love me was nowhere to be found. So, I dragged my guilt fifteen city blocks to the Reading pastrami stand. Famished, and obliterated by something I can only describe as fear, I downed a sandwich and conversation across from someone I once considered a prospective lover. During this, our second meeting, I worked hard to heave my heavy, haunted heart. Tremulous times, and many new moments would follow—that which I couldn’t have imagined. October was a blur of heartbreak and subway sunsets.
November showed up and it all smelled like it does today, as I write this. Shifts picked up as the wind did, and so too did the frequency of my showers, time on the tub’s floor, phone in hand.
If your lover wants to die, tell someone. Especially if you’re right there with them.
On late nights, or when shifts ended after the sun went down, I’d skirt 15th alone, sometimes worried about getting cornered or worse, but to no avail. I wondered who’d miss me.
As it grew colder, and Christmastime closer, decorations went up, and so too did the stakes. When would I learn? I’d walk through Dilworth, with ice rink aflutter, mulled winos wheeling about, and there I stood, alone. Watching lovers watching others, no one watching me. I could’ve taken another route. I never did.
I secretly sought you every evening.
As the leaves go, so too do our binds. Drop like the cones, the flakes, the fronds. Remember the season. Drop like the temperature. Drop like the sun. Drop like my shoulders, my hands. Drop like me, to my knees, there, at the end.
And then, in the dead of winter, there arrives another thing, another chance. But that
is a story for another time.
A year can change a whole lot. I’m much better off today than I was on October 1, 2021. I am grateful. I am alive. Here, I got another chance. I am free.
Until next time,
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