She had a moment while sitting on a bench waiting for the bus. One of those moments that twinges on those lost memories at the beginning of a long love affair: the flirtation with ambiguity, the naivety of her youth, the newness of every single little freckle on her lover’s body.
She didn’t run to catch the bus today and instead waited. She had forgotten to look around all these years because she was running after the bus and now she waited and wished she could sit there all day in the winter’s brisk, fresh snow just to watch.
She had played the game so well these past few years. The city looked like a handsome boy smiling and turning away only to look again and smile at her while her face blushed so bright she couldn’t help but smile back. He would never speak to her though.
All of a sudden she was eighteen years old again, new to this city, these buildings like these giant enigmas filled with strangers. The pigeons on the street peck at crumbs under the lights on Michigan Avenue. She is enamored with each begging squirrel, each lingering look from a stranger or the ones that shift quickly by hoping not to be seen. She is in love.
She is faced with uncertainty all of which is surely leading her away from her lover, Chicago. The city: the one who nurtured her sweetly in all those bars she nursed a whiskey or a broken heart, in all of those apartment buildings and alleyways.
The city: the one who showed her through mazes of endless streets, brick buildings, steel bridges, wrong directions on the way to finding someone, maybe something new today, maybe herself.
She kept an array of little notes friends and lovers had written her from stupid drunken conversations to times of desperation. They seemed so insignificant at the time but they were like the pigeons now, another extraordinary ordinary moment she’d forgotten to notice.
Her drawings were gateways to periods in her life. She sat in the living room of her mind remembering the friends that had come and gone, the neighborhoods she had known so well. They were little snippets into her history – like playing a song from your childhood that would leave you uncertain as to Now’s time and place.
She didn’t get on the bus and instead went back home. She put on a record and began the process. The cardboard boxes each categorized so neatly: Kitchen, bedroom, books, bathroom, office… She sat sorting through drawers and putting new labels on the boxes: Christopher, 2809 N California Ave., Summer ’06…and each item in the box was a familiar pain to the heart, a tinge of anxiety then release, like a needle entering a vein delivering instant relief. She knew her anxiety hurt her more than the prick of the needle.
She took a deep breath and found a vein pumping her blood back to her heart. She plunged the syringe into herself of too many late nights, loves lost and friends loved and began to feel the relief. She let go and allowed her tears to rinse the blood off her arm. Her work was done here.