November 6, 2010

The Difficulty of Remembrance

Delayed my train by 23 minutes. Quite a nuisance (though I hope whoever was unwell has improved). This, of course, meant that we got stuck behind a local train, which in turn meant that I was really, really late to class.

Which I care about. Clara and Helga care less, so I bid them goodbye at the campus gate and proceeded at a very brisk walk, mostly because I couldn't take another minute of not talking. As I was approaching Pupin, I heard the slapping sound of someone running in flip-flops and thought to myself "well, at least I'm not as hurried as whoever that is."

Moments later, a slightly breathless (which means he was probably running for a good while) Rube pulled up (yes, I'm using vehicular terminology) next to me.

"Hey," he said.

I blinked. "Hi."

"I'm late."

"Me too."

"I woke up really early, and I assumed that my parents were going to make me breakfast, so I lay down on the couch for a few minutes--"

I wished that I didn't know what his couch looked like, that my mental picture was less vivid.

"--And then I woke up, and it was 9:47," he continued. "So I got a cab, and here I am."

"There was a medical emergency on the train. Before I got there."

"I didn't eat breakfast."


We continued walking, his pace slightly faster than mine, because my shoelace was undone and I didn't particularly want to stop long enough to fix it. I looked down.

"Your feet must be freezing," I said, because, as I'd thought from the sound, he was be-sandaled (yes, that's a word).


"My toes would be blue. Or purple. Probably purple."

"When they go numb I can't feel it."

I believe I snorted. Let us pretend that it was a lady-like snort.

Anyways, we eventually got inside, and I went for the elevator, to which he said "elevator, really?" and I said "I'm on the thirteenth floor" and he said "reasonable, then."

Because it is reasonable. Eight flights of stairs is a lot.

He entered the elevator with me, even though he didn't need to. He'd held the door, too, when we entered the building. I can't think when that trait stopped annoying me when present in males. Perhaps when I realized that there are better outlets for feminism.

I flopped against the wall of the elevator, and he did the same, against the other. I realized, abruptly, that we were alone, and then, just as suddenly, that he wasn't wearing a hat. It was messy, too long, curling while flat against his head in that horribly adorable way, and I wanted--I squelched the thought.

"I'm sleepy," I said, though I wasn't.

"I'm not," he responded, as the elevator stopped for him. I stood in the elevator by myself as it rose the last six floors.

I walked out, across the hall, stood in the bathroom, alone. I began to laugh, perhaps just because of how fittingly him the exchange was, but also because I didn't need it. It was interesting, yes, fine, good, but uncomfortable. More comfortable than that last night, but not something I wanted more of.

I'm trying to reclaim the music he sent me. I went down to the beach last night, after leaving Cammie's. I played the Los Campesinos song that is so much fun, You! Me! Dancing!, with its wonderful exclamation points. The one that I played whenever I missed him over the summer.

I stood on the cannons, the song loud, looking at the sky. I thought about him, briefly, but then about the stars. About the sky, about the world, about where I wanted to be and how, in a moment, in this chill cold air, I could just feel. I jumped from the cannons to the ground, then danced, as erratically as if I were drunk, down to the water, singing lines that felt right. I thrust my hands into the water, splashed it on my face, then twirled back up to my truck.

It sounds like a baptism, now. I'm going to call it that. A new beginning. A fresh start, not for him, not with him, but for me, for myself, with, well, anyone other than him.

I am made clean.


Gretchen said...

Does this mean you won't mention him anymore? Can I hit you if you do? :P