I sat down to write an apology, but it's been so long it would be like bandaging a scar. In any case, it was a dream, a panicky, heart-racing, remorseful and ultimately inconsequential series of slow-motion steps down an imaginary hall. I chose the door on the left, but had I chosen right, I still would have woken to the blaring of a 10 year old clock from a matched set, set one hour before its twin, five feet away on an identical nightstand. Marriage is the provenance of doppels.
Or maybe, maybe it's more like suturing a scar. If a person has healed, then perhaps the best medicine is to mute the reminders. I found some old painkillers once, the expiration date many years old. I swallowed one and waited until nothing happened, then another, and maybe it's more like self-medicating with dead pills, waiting around for some thrill that will never come to fix a pain whose ache is just a distant memory. I swallowed another, just in case.
There seems to be a daily reminder of the wisdom of scrubbing your virtual footprint; the internet is rife with fungi eager to break down the detritus of our poorly chosen words. The supposed safety in numbers does not bear out in letters. You know this whenever your internal clock rings spring cleaning. I keep nothing, and yet it seems like every other book drops a memento, a note, a postcard, a photograph, a bookmark, a receipt, a ticket stub. Where was I going?
It doesn't feel like the holidays, and I know what I used to say and how I used to say it. No one sees me and yet I behave as though I'm under constant watch. So I say nothing, and feel safer for it, and obviously unfulfilled. Or maybe it is like buying a box of bandages and keeping one at all times in your wallet, or maybe it is like swallowing a bandage, or maybe I could start a tattoo parlor, but instead of ink, our artists would peddle in designer scars.
I got this one in Vegas, and this is from a trip I took to Cabo, and here is the one from Manhattan, and this one is from DC, only it's real, and this one is fake, it comes right off, and I don't have any from Seattle or Portland because that would be too close to home. And here is an old birthday card tucked into a notebook that got buried when we moved. Here is an old promise I made to say goodbye. Keeping a promise is like keeping a prisoner.