Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I don't miss you, Baltimore.

A year ago, when I got dumped, I spent MLK week wandering the city at length. I found one of my favorite sweaters, a hand-knit three-quarter length cardigan with a button at the top, hanging on a dumpster that day on my way to Enoch Pratt Free Library and before I went to watch the parade. A neon sort of orange-red in cotton, with bits of periwinkle and yellow and tangerine, it's cheerfulness and dedication completely belied that day's grimness for me. Dazed, lonesome, and alone, before any of my friends had gotten back to school. I smoked clove cigarettes like a chimney, and cut my hair again and again, as if shedding the keratinized skin cells would make easier shedding emotions and memories.

Granted, it's not easy to be the one breaking up. It sucks. Nobody wants to hurt somebody they loved, it's just a reality, somebody's gotta do it. If there's not hurt, there's anger, and anger...well, we all know what that leads to. It's called a break-up because it's broken. It's a break-up, not a break-down. And other self-help titles. He's just not that into you, maybe?

From Ingrid Michaelson's song Breakable:

Have you ever thought about what protects our hearts?

Just a cage of rib bones and other various parts.
So it's fairly simple to cut right through the mess,
And to stop the muscle that makes us confess.

And we are so fragile,
And our cracking bones make noise,
And we are just,
Breakable, breakable, breakable girls and boys.

I mean, I couldn't possibly do worse than I did then, so that's a little optimism inside me, but I am not thrilled to be heading back to Baltimore. Here I can be helpful, feed the animals, talk to dogs, cuddle with little warm bodies that never get sick of being the wrong kind of spoon, and autopilot my way to and from the buzzing city (or far-off suburbs). I've got some hard work to do in the studio, I know that now, and that work isn't the easiest to make. Blood and sweat and tears and money and time, to be put on a pedestal and judged.

I just want to avoid people and places for a while, and I suppose it will be pretty easy to do so since my life isn't tied to his like it was last year, hopelessly entangled. And the fact that we broke up when we weren't in the same physical space was good. As is my way, I have four dates lined up for when I get back, and of course my on-going affair with LEGO Star Wars to occupy my time.

I'm just not a little girl any more, I'm not that naive or innocent or enchanted with possibility, and I'm sort of sad to see that part of me gone for the most part. Still, though, I dream of romance. Of a relationship so well-matched that one can't help but believe in a higher power, with a person who sees me in their future, not just the past and present. I deserve that much.


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