Nel and I had this…I don’t know. There was a lot of love between us. We used to party together and in the middle of the dancing yell out, I love you dude!
And things like that.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never loved a girl in the sense that I’ve wanted to make love with her. I wish I could have that option or desire, but I’m stuck with penises forever. But that’s another story.
Nel…she’s not really here anymore. Maybe it’s me, my fault, maybe I love too much. Too too much heart.
When I think of her my senses are invaded with the colour orange. Her dark orange vintage jacket. Red bag of fresh oranges underneath her desk. Bedroom bathed in soft orange light. Incense permeates. Even the photos she took – on Night Mode –everything came out with orange outlines. Look at them. It’s like we were glowing. Like angels. Except we, the people we were then, we died. Those photos capture a past that doesn’t exist today. She takes other photos now, with other people in them.
The problem is I still look at the old photos.
Maybe if I speak about it I will make sense of it. Like Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner – haunted by an experience he cannot rationalize, he abandons the sea and lives on land, desperate to figure it out, desperate to find that understanding. Maybe someone will grip his arm and say I get it. Me too, old man, me too. I know.
She never really understood my skin, the condition, or the pills I’m still taking. But she did make me feel warm. I remember dropping my tights to scratch away at a sudden red patch on my leg, embarrassing and yet – whatever. It didn’t matter. It’s fine man, she would say. It’s fine.
When her period was late. Scouring the aisles late at night for a pregnancy test. I was there. I wonder if she remembers.
If wonder if it makes a difference. These memories I mean. What does it matter that I was there last week? I am not there now. Stop living in the past, Casey, and stop expecting the present not to outgrow itself. Everything is constantly outgrowing itself.
Later she would break my heart with the words “I didn’t think I had to tell you everything”.
What problem? she asked, I think you’re making a big deal out of nothing.
Like I said, the problem is only mine, it is only my heart that breaks like this, with just a gentle push.
I cannot touch her now. The friend I used to sling in arm and arm, push around with bare feet, ruffled hair, silly pinching and mucking about. I just. I freeze. My arms don’t want to move. They lock at my sides, hopeless in their horizontal pull towards the earth. My entire body craves to disappear under her feet. Bury me now.
My tongue stops too. No words. No breath. And no pill will do the trick here, my heart aches, my ankles turn without my mind being able to stop them. I walk away, I gag, I want to tear myself into pieces like they have torn me into pieces. Taking out clumps of my love and dragging it away with them, until the strings snap, until I hear their voices no longer, until I’m left with a snapped, snagged love, reaching out into a million directions and left gasping, rasping, snapped and desperate, snagged and alone.