I lost myself here. When alone time became the hour between labs, laying in bed and listening to musicals. Lost myself in the smell of weeks old laundry and Tabasco and a pet mouse—later two and then four.
Calling my mom from the great lawn, cigarette in one hand, phone in the other. “This is the farthest anyone in the family has ever gotten. You know that, right, sweetie?” Rachel’s hand traveling up my stomach, fingers dipping into my navel. “Not now; I’m on the phone.” Catching those wandering fingers, trying to hold onto the cigarette, plastic speaker pressed against my ear.
The kids here buy shitty wine. They break the cork into the bottle with dorm keys and the butt ends of forks, bending the metal back into place against their desks, spitting out cork chunks. It’s light beer mostly. Besides the wine. PBR in cans we stack in our backpacks. Tastes like somebody poured water into the real beer.
Psychedelic telescopes. That’s what it felt like. Like I had one of those cardboard red tubes that show twisting stain glass when you look through it.
And Rachel. “My family lives in a different state,” she whispers. I feel tears on my shoulder. Imaginary because I never saw her cry. At night I draw lines over the maps. Just inches of ink between us. Lines and folds in paper.
There are nights I remember. Crying in a tree, snot on moss. Rip in my favorite sweatshirt, two inches above the elbow, third branch up the tree. Smoke it to cash, flames that race through a glass piece, burning the center of my bottom lip. I swear I was innocent before I came here.
Friday, Saturday, fuzzy Sunday mornings with Advil and whip cream that gums out between the square dips in waffles, syrup from Vermont. No light because it was Portland and we were hungover and anyway, those memories are always grey in my mind. Nights sitting in a circle on the ground with PBR and up to the front lawn to smoke and over to the apartments for tiny, dark rooms playing music I don’t know the lyrics to. Bass that shakes the plastic shower curtains, tremors in the telephone wires strung outside the upstairs window. Whip-its in the kitchen and weed in the basement with three guys sharing a grimy glass piece.
I forget the words to those songs. In my memories they all say, “I don’t love you, I don’t love you, I don’t love you.”