I can do better

Looking at real estate online. Thinking about moving, thinking about selling. Wondering if I can afford it. Wondering where to go. And then I’m at the kitchen counter chopping an apple over the slab of granite I sourced and haggled over and helped wrestle into the back of my ex’s pick-up. It sat in the yard all summer, then winter; it was covered in snow. Finally I found someone to cut and install it. A young man with his girlfriend in tow. They liked the dogs and the dogs liked them. I gave them a decent chunk of wood left over from a yard sale; we figured they could make a bench out of it. Everything is like that: every aspect of this renovation. I’ve fussed over all of it–the parts I did alone, and the parts he helped with…and those parts: I don’t want those memories. I don’t want to touch anything he’s touched. I don’t want to know anything he’s known. It was that bad. For me, this house is haunted. And I ask myself: Am I really going to do this–take this home, this life, and give it to someone who wants comfort more than they want escape? I’ve always been this way. When I was little, I didn’t like people’s shadows crossing over me; I tried not to step on them, especially their heads. That seemed rude, and somehow violent. At the very least, careless. If someone touched me too abruptly, especially a stranger, I would wait until they weren’t looking and then wipe it off: the lingering sensation. But then last night I dreamt I hugged Paulina Porizkova. I explained to my father–I keep dreaming of my family; they’re more receptive in dreams–I told him she’s a good woman; I follow her on Instagram. And it was a long hug. I didn’t want to let go. This is what I dream of now, awake or asleep, not sex–that was the beginning of the pandemic–I got aroused replacing the inner tube of a bicycle tire: my hand wrapped around the firm but squishy rubbery cylinder. I digress. I dream of hugs now. I think about hugs a lot. The last one was from my ex, ten months ago, and it doesn’t count. It was a horrible, passive aggressive hug-for-show outside the house of the woman around the corner. The woman he likes better now. Because she doesn’t know him like I know him. Even he doesn’t want to know himself that way. That hug was a lie, to show her how nice he is, and what a mess I am, what a burden. It was hug rape. An arm cage. I shrank from his touch and stumbled down the street crying, back to my house–back to this house–in my gardening boots and my oversized sweatshirt. I can do better. I want a better hug.

Published by msdeer

I am an interdisciplinary artist, slightly incognito here.

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