A moment to live for: it’s Christmas time in Detroit and I’m sitting in my best friends living room located in a 1920s apartment on Jefferson that her and her boyfriend rent together. He throws St. Paul and The Broken Bones on the record player and he, his two friends, Sarah, and myself all decide that “Call Me” is the song we need to hear right in this moment. In the moments that follow the bluesy tune dances on our ear drums while we pass a bowl full of weed around the room which I have Sarah light for me every time it lands on me and we sip Soft Parade out of bottles that are still wearing the winter chill they caught during the walk from the car to the building and I look out the window at the Detroit river and all that Windsor, Canada offers just on the other side and I remember all of the times Sarah and I crossed the border as teenagers to drink and dance in bars and have sing alongs with homeless men playing acoustic guitars on the street, a street we’d walk down hand in hand once the jäger hit us. And I realize that’s just one of many streets I’ve gone down with her by my side and it’s no different here on Jefferson, or on Broadway in Soho, or on a dirt road outside of a stilted mansion on the island of Kauai; Sarah always reminds me that I’m right where I need to be.
I tried to remember that I’d still have tomorrow, that there would continue to be blue skies and cold beer and a million other reasons for the world to keep turning, but the bombs exploding in my chest were so distracting.
There’s a difference between being sad and missing someone. Sometimes we’re sad because we don’t miss them at all. We’re sad to have realized the reality is that we’re better off without that thing we thought we couldn’t live without, didn’t want to live without. We’re sad that we no longer believe ourselves when we say that it was or will be worth it. We’re sad to have to agree with our friends when they say we deserve better. Because we didn’t want better, we wanted what we had. Mostly we’re sad that somebody or something yanked us from the fairytale we insisted on living in and introduced us to the cold and lonely world of reality, where people leave and love fades.
Every time he hurts you there is just enough forgiveness and making up to fill the time between this betrayal and the next. There is always a next. And you think that by forgiving him you’re breaking new ground, you’re getting to a part of him no one else ever has and so you dig through dirt hoping you might uncover an artifact that will be worth the past couple years of your life. He has swallowed you whole and you swim around in the word vomit while picking out the words and phrases you like most; only focusing on the ones that make it hurt a little less to know that this is the kind of love you think you deserve. You’re drowning. You fill your pockets with the bullshit that comes out of his mouth and you look up from the ocean floor wondering how you got here. He says this is the best he’s got and you decide it’s not so bad holding your breath as he tells you how beautiful you are when you’re blue in the face.