It’s a strange story, which is my story. It was the first time I fell in love, for real love. Instead of having a real relationship, we had a secret one. Why? Because we were young and he wasn’t ready to commit. But we spent all our time together anyway. One time, we took a trip to Seattle, and the thing about the motel being a dump without an ice machine is true. The Malibu, well that too unfortunately, because it had been on sale. Supposedly, we weren’t going to sleep in the bed together, as we weren’t a real couple. The plan was that he’d sleep on the floor. His plan, not mine. I was in love with him. I’d take Seattle with a plan for him to sleep on the floor over no Seattle any day. Oh, the joy of being a person that takes her highs and lows very seriously.
When it was finally over, I, like many before me, thought that I could fuck away my sadness. Though, to be fair to myself, I never actually thought it would work. I just wanted to feel better temporarily. I wanted to prove (to myself) that I was still lovable, and of course what happened was I actually felt the opposite.
That Dump Without An Ice Machine
That stream of white light hitting the white rug
through the curtains, rippling like a flag
of surrender filling the room,
bedding, walls, mirrors. That exposure.
It’s a hotel room, yes, and it’s morning.
I spot my black dress on the floor. That contrast.
Pull the sheets up to my chin, not looking at his face,
just his limp arm draped over my belly. Who
is he? That face from the night before. He reminds me
of someone else. And the light keeps creeping in.
Tousled in the white sheets of another white room,
after playing cards on a cheap table
and drinking Malibu and cokes without ice.
That love love.
That dump without an ice machine. No,
you didn’t sleep on the floor. No, it wasn’t the booze
in our blood that made our bodies
act that way. It was something else, something
inextinguishable. That we had it under control,
no. Will it always be this kind of chaos
in our hearts that makes us feel most alive?
This is one version of love,
you as the ocean, me as the rocks, later
sand. What comes after,
that deafening responsibility
for my actions. When will I finally feel
like I’m no longer a child? Now,
when this stranger’s got an 8am flight to catch,
as ’m searching everywhere for my panties,
places they wouldn’t be, like behind the curtains.
Now, because he kisses me goodbye, because
he’s polite, now, when he’s gone,
and I’m slouched by the door
like a trembling mouse
ambushed by a starving cat
inside of me.
Three Ways To Make Sure Your Love Is Real
- “He reminds me of someone else.” You know your love is real when you’re picking new sex partners the look like someone you wish you were with. That’s real love.
- “It was something else, something inextinguishable.” The reason why you’re with the person is because they make you feel infinite. Likely they will always make you feel that way, even after its over and you’ve actually moved on. That’s real love.
- “What comes after, that deafening responsibility for my actions.” You take responsibility for falling in love with him because it was worth it to feel so shitty after its over. Even if it means you wake up in the hotel rooms of 1000 strangers as part of the dealing and healing process. If that’s fine with you, then it’s real love.