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Drowning On Dry Land

It’s a quiet night and I am pacing in the living room. Candles are lit, there are apples and bottles of dry white wine, I prefer the dry to the overly fruity, a preference I have known since what seems like the beginning of time even though the reasons behind it have never been discussed or even considered. This bottle was a gift; a birthday gift from a friend who I thought I had lost but no, lo and behold she came to my party, with a bottle of what is proving to be a delightful bottle of wine. The apples were also a gift, this time a Christmas gift from my boss’s boss… one of those gifts that is thoughtful and thoughtless at the same time. I had rolled my eyes when I opened the box and had actually put off eating many of the apples because after all, they are just apples and I might be a part time vegetarian but that doesn’t mean that I have to eat piles of fruit… or even boxes. The box came complete with a paper map insert that would helpfully tell you what sorts of apples they were, where they were cultivated, and what exactly made them oh so very special. I threw it out without even glancing at it; the symbolism not lost.

I had debated re-gifting the entire thing to my super but in the end I thought that after the holiday rush I would eat them slowly over time… an apple a date as the new year began. I had a vague notion of starting a new dating diary (the old one already hopelessly full of his name) and using the apples as metaphors for the men themselves. “After diner and coffee with Michael I returned home and chose a smooth rosy apple. Its overall dumpy appearance seemed in line with the man I had just spent the better part of the evening with and if there was a bit of mushy sweetness to be found under the blemished skin, well that would be fitting as well….”

Tonight though the apples had called out to me and seemed the perfect companion to my wine and so I am working my way through the box. Another “brilliant” writing idea lost forever due to melancholy and an empty fridge.

There is music of course, because I am me and the me that I am needs music… the background sound, the inner soundtrack made public, the temptation to get lost in the vibrations, the words or in some cases just the emotions for a moment and forget everything else. It can be so freeing to borrow someone else’s emotions, even if it only lasts three minutes. I wander through the tiny rooms of my apartment nodding my head, swaying my hips, raising the bottle again and again I am not a wino, I just don’t happen to own any wine glasses and for some reason drinking straight out of the bottle seems to make more sense than drinking white wine from a coffee mug. I have a lot of coffee mugs and no wine glasses… a bit ironic since I only drink coffee in paper cups from coffee shops and I drink a fair bit of wine.

A bit more than a third through the bottle and I am starting to think more and more about sex and less and less about loss… which was the point of drinking this particular bottle in the first place. Had I wanted to wallow in sadness, missed chances and long lost loves I would have opened the merlot. (Also a gift, my friends know me and I love them.)

A new apple, this one has pale pink skin and bright pink insides… it was one of the smallest in the box and I tossed it between my hands before biting into it… toss… toss…. The sound it made against my palms lost in the pulsing beat from my stereo. I have it turned up loud so that even if my phone were to ring I wouldn’t’ hear it… Later I will check and be sadly disappointed that there are no missed calls of declarative love and apology but for now I can trick myself into the delusion that I am busy and not caring at all if he should call….

I dance by myself under the white Christmas lights and wait for the poetry floating around in my mind like an errant butterfly to land, to pause in its flight even for a moment, only for a moment, just one little moment… (True that my poetry laden mind is more of a hummingbird, but butterflies are prettier and don’t remind me of my ex mother in law, so lets stick with butterflies okay?) I know I can lose myself in the wine, the poetry, the lights, and the incense, did I mention the incense? It is vanilla and sweet. So is the blushing apple who’s insides so aptly mirror its outside.

f only we could all be an apple, even for a day.

An apple a day, an apple a date, an apple for every memory.

Suddenly tears threaten and I spin away back under the lights, bottle lifted high, the faint acidic taste of wine left out a tad too long forgotten as I drink….

The bottle is half gone and I consider getting a glass of water… it would take the edge off, but isn’t the edge the entire point? It would be easy… there are two sinks in this apartment and an entire army of dusty coffee mugs waiting to be used. It isn’t like at a bar where you have to find your way to the bar, maneuvering your way through the crowd, getting a rush and simultaneous sense of disgust as you squeeze your body between the other sweaty customers waiting their turn until you arrive at last at the stools and booze soaked counter… then there is the waiting for the bartender to notice you, the flagging down, the lean in whisper shout for water and then the wait…. Because you don’t always have to pay and they know you won’t tip, they only give you water out of a sense of duty or a desire to clean up less puke later on. The other people at the bar don’t want you there, your water desire has reminded everyone that we are human, we get drunk, we fall down, there are limits and freedom has a cost… they want you to go away with your water so they can go back to pretending. No, here, at home it would be easier to get a drink of water. For a moment I wonder if drinking alone in my home is really what I pretend: the responsible less expensive option… or if it is just a bit sad and depressing. I settle that it is a bit of both and pick another apple from the box.

This next one is big, must be one of the biggest in the box and I almost can’t bear to bite into it. I picked it at random, just stuck my hand in to the inner darkness of the box and moved bout until at last there was the deciding moment of “yes, this is the one” and out came the apple. The kitchen is dark, the light hasn’t worked since I moved in almost a year ago, and even though I knew at once that it was a big apple I knew nothing else about it until I got it under the lights, near the candles. Fortifying myself with stale wheat thins (to offset the nauseating feel of the slick insides of apple after apple) I study it and am impressed by its size and girth. Like so many things in my life, there is a moment of abject concentration, of intense focus and then … its gone, just something that lingers in memory, hesitating on the edges of consciousness but not really there anymore except in memory’s shadow. I suddenly realize I don’t care that this apple is big, that the box of stale wheat thins was in fact a box of stale wheat thin crumbs, and that the level of wine in the bottle is dramatically lower than just a moment ago. All I want in this moment is to devour the fruit, to rip its outsides with my teeth, to let its juices dribble, to slurp and gobble and ram it into my mouth at chock hazarding speeds. If I can move fast enough, or with enough dramatic intent, surly I will not be lost.

I am feeling the wine now. My face is slightly numb and my hands want to wander. The music is random and yet I find secret hidden meanings in all the lyrics of the songs that play,. “yes,” I tell myself “this is the song that sums up my entire life… or at least the part that relates to him, at least as far as right now… I should email it to him without any comment or explanation, see what happens.” And then of course I realize that not only would that be breaking the rules of “no contact” but it would be almost as pathetic as a drunk dial at 10:30 pm. Oh my god, its only 1030.

The neck of the bottle is sticky, my hands are sticky… somewhere in the back of my mind there is poem about sticky clinging hands, the hands of a child, a petulant child being needy and clinging to another out of a false sense of hope… that the other will make it all better. All better it could be with a word, or rather, a grouping of words that would have the curative meaning that I yearn for. I wonder about this poem, is it even worth writing? Would it even matter? But writing as a child, filled with childish needs is too close to home and I use a bit of spit (not mommy spit, but spinster spit) to clean the sticky apple and wine drops from my hands.

In a flash I realize how gross that is, how desperately sad and horrific… For a moment I am stunned and then repulsed I wash myself in the bathroom avoiding eye contact with the mirror. My mind is understandably moving a tad slower so it just now occurred to me that the wine will run out, it will be early yet… there are hours before dawn will come and save me from the darkness.

The next apple taunts me. I could eat this apple, but it is so big and for some reason its size is intimidating… it was king of the apples and if I eat it, it will be nothing more than saliva coated core… like the others in the kitchen, relegated to nothing but the barest form of its insides. Who wants that? Not me. I feel instantly a sense of camaraderie with this apple, and yes I know that is the wine talking but I don’t really care at this point. I will go eat a different apple, maybe even some cold cereal (raisin bran!) but this apple needs to stay right here next to my computer waiting for its moment. It deserves that, it should be looked at and appreciated, even if it is just for a moment, even if it is just for a moment by a silly drunk lonely girl.

Who better to look at it?

Who better to understand its beauty and short life span of being important and special?

The raisin bran box is as empty as the fridge and the cracker box was and in a moment of slight spinning (was the sink always on this side of the kitchen?) I wonder if my entire kitchen (home, life) is just set dressing… a model home… am I just a random stop on the tour “look kids… go to college, but for god’s sake don’t major in English…” “look kids, on your right you will see what happens when you marry too young, divorce too late, and then fall for an emotionally unavailable man…. And for gods sake when you buy yourself a set of silverware, pick up a set of wine glasses.”

I have lived on my own for seven months but I don’t own silverware.

The wine is down to about 2 inches left and I am starting to wonder if the freedom moment will ever happen.. .maybe writing while drinking has ruined what I like to call the “magic moment”… the wonderful moment of loss and total surrender that usually happens when I drink. Although, that usually happens with more up beat music, more hard liquor, and lots of lights and dancing people.

The rules, the self imposed rules tell me that I can’t call him. I can’t write to him, I know this. I accept this. I understand this. But oh my gods I don’t like this.

I pace below the lights, a mistake I am sure because I want nothing more than to lay down in his arms and rest but I can’t seem to stop…. I am running and I don’t even really know why. No wait I know why. I just don’t know where I am running to.

Good god, I am a bad typer sober, and drinking doesn’t really seem to have that much affect on it. Is that a good thing? Only difference seems to be that sober me would probably know that “typer” wasn’t a word and that it should be typist. Bah

And for no reason at all I am suddenly in the middle of t a flashback to high school. You scared me for life. It took me years to not hate you, I am better now.

Whatever happened to April?

Face is fully numb now.

There were bubbles in the wine bottle as I drank. I know why of course, but for some reason I am fascinated. Ahhh the joy of being tipsy. Drunk? Nah… but tipsy yes.

I don’t trust myself to get up and pace. Falling, even onto my carpet, is out of the question. I have fallen before, I have the emotional scars to prove it. I refuse to fall again. (My, my, don’t I sound confident?)

It has been 12 minutes since I last looked at the clock. The bottle is almost empty.

Nope, no more almost, all empty now. My first whole bottle to myself… and gone. No one to blame, no one to share the hangover with (not that I get them, but you know what I mean)

And the desire to dance is strong, the desire for sex even more… Oh okay,… yes that sentence was a bit more vulgar a moment ago, but I am not that wasted and I changed my mind. There was a beep and I don’t actually know if it was the music (really loud) or my phone. I am almost afraid to look. Not to much though. There is always the Merlot. But no, I know better. My heart couldn’t take it.

30 is not too old, so says Liz Phair.

So yes, I am tipsy, having trouble waling a straight line. But I am the good kind of tipsy girl, all safe in her apartment, I should go take the “oh hell no I don’t want kids” pill, then there will be nothing left to worry about except finding a comfy place to stop moving for when sleep takes me.

I settle for the easy chair, laying sideways and watching the lights reflect themselves against the window pane… like parents at a school play… or not, wow that made so much more sense in my head…

I find myself glaring at my phone, willing it to ring even though there is a very large part of me who would want to pretend to be too busy to answer it should he call.

Drunk now, or tipsy, who knows, who cares.

The lights are still glowing, how come I don’t care?

Time for bed, disquieting dreams and a new day that will dawn in unbroken clouds.

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