April 9, 2012

Consolation files


For the two months you held the lease on a one-bedroom apartment in North Brooklyn, you didn't have time to paint or buy furniture or even develop any significant memories of your own in there. I took that liberty for you, barging in late on a Sunday evening.

"Can I come over?" I huffed, after a series of incomplete phone tags.
"Yeah, sure... is everything okay? You sound weird."
"No it's not. And no I don't."

I waited the duration of about 3 episodes of Party Down on Netflix on the clunky old CRT television I gave you, rendered redundant when my apartment acquired a flatscreen. We sat on the floor, sipping tea from brown murky mugs you found at the Salvation Army. They looked like a product of an intermediate pottery thrower. I toggled through more episodes, thinking that in probably another 30 minutes the walk home will feel much longer than the walk here.

I decided to multitask episode selection with weeping on the floor in your living room with no furniture. Well, that's not entirely true. There was that oriental rug from your grandmother. It was the only material legacy from your family that you expressed approval of. I figured having an emotional rupture on it could only appreciate it in value.

You didn't say anything. You could feel the cabin pressure drop right before I did. I knew I chose the right person to rage my adolescent sorrow to when you said nothing at all and instead tucked me into the space between your neck and your left shoulder, away from some unseen detonation of explosive devastation. I didn't mean to bring that to your helm, except that I did. How many times have you seen me in pieces before; I imagine you were just glad that it wasn't you this time who was the cause of it.
Except that you said "I'm sorry" into my hair, like you were.

Better people have done worse than seeking consolation from someone who didn't love them back because someone else didn't either. It always comes back to original sins. If romance was original I might revisit it, but it feels deceptively renewed each time. So I do.

I generally try to avoid having original feelings in front of relative strangers. Some of them just can't help themselves though. Heartbreak might even be the most indulgent and self-important one yet. It loves to linger. Always the same but manages to reinvent itself each time. It's the Madonna in the arena of crappy ways to feel. How many times can we feel the same kind of awful and never get bored with it?

We stayed in that uncomfortable tangle, on the floor, for as long as it took for the despairing hiccups to come every few seconds apart, like measuring thunder. The storm is now 3 miles away. Now 5 miles away. Now 10. Was it sympathy or guilt you were feeling then? Did it matter?

Consolation is reciprocal by nature. Done right, no one should feel alone. Successful, in a room with two people and even less furniture, the world contextualizes itself to correct what it neglected when you got what you deserved. Or when you didn't. When you gave up too much of all of you, and the meager profits you made, you gambled.

Love is tendered without justice, that much I knew. It's not the currency you are supposed to save, though I'm frugal by nature. Love won't pay for your sins. Its investments are rarely wise and often foolish, but it is transactions like this one that make me glad that at one point, I bet it all on you.

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