I don’t even know. It’s our sixteenth anniversary. Should have been our sixteenth anniversary. I’ve been walking back and forth between the kitchen and the bedroom. The water tastes stale. I opened the windows to let a breeze in, but there is no breeze. The air never moves here when I need it to. I’m out in wind country and I might suffocate.
Hell, it would have been twenty five years, if you count all the years before that, stops and starts. I remember the pictures I used to have framed, on the bookshelves. There’s one my friend Patty took — a close-up of Erik and I about to have our first kiss as a husband and a wife. After all those years, finally. It was the start of summer and I had flowers in my hair, a strand of wildflowers my friend Maria had picked in Maine just the day before. The color was washed out and it looked like something from the sixties. When I remember that day, the hope, it seems old and foolish, like the sixties. Like, we know better now that to have those kinds of youthful illusions. I buried those pictures years ago, but they might as well be out today. It’s as if they’re on my shelves, I have them memorized.
I feel like having a drink. I opened a bottle of whiskey Finn left here but it smelled like lighter fluid. The vodka smelled like propane. The thought of a glass of wine made my stomach turn. One of the pictures I can’t stop remember is of the two of us seen through a glass of wine. Patty didn’t take that one, but what a cliche. It’s the cliches that hurt the worst.
Leah’s not here. I think I’m glad. Maybe I’m not glad. Maybe I could look at her and say, “Well, for you it was worth it, any hurt is worth it.” I don’t really want her to see me like this. She gets impatient, taps her finger on the counter, and says in an exasperated voice, “Mom!” God, today just let me feel what I feel.
I keep reaching for Finn. He doesn’t know the day. I think he wanted to come here. But how could I? I’m supposed to be in love, aren’t I? Then what are all these feelings that keep welling up inside me, that make me feel like I want to break? It can’t be that I’m really in love and I’m still haunted by all these old feelings. Gah, feelings. Sometimes I wish I could just pack my emotions up in a truck and ship it further west on the train. I’d be a premium shipping rate if they could be good and gone. Better to be a dried up old lady of fifty than to walk around perpetually haunted and lame like this. I feel like I just limp around all over this town. I’m just not good at living, when you come right down to it. I’m not tough enough. Too light. So light I feel like I’ll break apart and blow away. Some days I wish that would happen.