12.01

My friend just moved in with his girlfriend, and he was telling me about it. He said, “turns out I might not be designed for relationships.” I had little sympathy, I think I wrote back, “Tiny violins.” I said I was sick of men using that word like a bomb. I have a relationship with my pants, and they don’t gripe with me about semantics. I spent this weekend by the pool, chasing shade, moving my chair by the hour, using my umbrella like a sun dial. At one point I tried to move the umbrella, which was heavy at the base. I asked a man if he would help. He laid on his towel, a dry body and wet hair, and said, “You were the ones who wanted to be independent.” I was hunched over, dragging the stone base between my legs and said, “Not with umbrellas.” Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about dependency. It’s an embarrassing trait to admit. No one ever wants to say “I’m a dependent woman.” But there are times when I am. I think the violins belong to the ones who can’t admit it. What a sad sound, a lonely violin without its orchestra.

11.13

I have a loose tooth. I’m a thirty-two year old woman, with a history of late blooming, and a baby tooth that’s just now falling out. My dentist told me I should pull it. She said there’s no need to linger in the in- between. She said it could become painful. With nothing to push it out, my gums would inflame, things could fall in, and the tooth might rot from the bottom. I told her I’d like to keep it. I pushed my tongue against its back side and said, “I’ll risk it.” I have a friend who interprets dreams. She told me when a tooth falls out it’s a sign of change and loss, maybe a compromise made with your arm twisted behind your back. I told her I think my mouth is responding to the election. Things don’t have the same meaning. The morning after I found myself doing dishes thinking, “Does it even matter if these are clean.” I spent most of the week crying, three glasses deep, holding my friends by the elbows. But now I’ve come to. I realized the country was ahead of me. It had already rot from the bottom, and I had no idea. To me it was just a loose tooth that I found more comfortable to keep than let go, because I was scared of the hole. Any damage done would be in a place I couldn’t see. But the dentist told me I would feel it. She said most people are like me. They wait until they’re in pain to do anything about it, but the only way to avoid the rot is to open it up.

11.10

  A couple weeks ago I went to an art show and met a photographer in the smoking cage outside a warehouse. He put down his drink and looked at me. He said, “I want to put you in a box and shoot you.” He made a box shape with his fingers and pushed a phantom shutter. In my head I was thinking "please don't be serious” but I didn’t say anything. I laughed it off and pressed my cigarette into a strawberry. Last night, I went to a company holiday party and at the end of the night I sat outside on a wall. A woman came out, escorted by security. She was crying. She was stumbling too, that unmistakable cocktail of tequila and turmoil. I asked her what was wrong. She said “How can we vote like that and then we’re all here, just dancing. It’s so fake. No one is real,” and security pulled her by the elbow. Later I was talking to my friend. He said he understood her. I said he didn’t. There was no way he could. I said he had no idea what it felt like to be a woman right now. I was standing at my uber ride, the back door open, the driver waiting with his hand on the gearshift. I was on my own kick of tequila and turmoil, and I realized as I was talking I was acting just as bad as that photographer. My friend was on my side, just with a different makeup, and I was there, trying to put him in a box and shoot him. You don’t know what to say sometimes when you’re at the receiving end of hands in a square, someone looking at you, with one eye closed, through their imaginary lens.

07.10

I went to a party last night with stone steps and fake snow and a blue screen projected on the wall that blinked "hdmi not found" in the bottom left corner. It was on a steep narrow street with no parking, but still a hundred cars in a row wormed around the base of a yellow dirt cliff. I went to see a guy play. He was a friend of a friend and I had heard mixed reviews. One girl who said she loved his music and another who said it was the worst thing she had ever seen. The party was full, three rock tiers full, people who wore nice clothes and sex on the outside of their skin. Who shook your hand or kissed you on the cheek and said nice to meet you, or good to see you, and who for some reason reminded me of people I knew ten years ago. When I first moved to LA, and I was a younger version of myself. The girl with dyed black hair who worked at an art gallery, and went at night with a flask and half a Vicodin to go see a band play at a house party in laurel canyon. There are very few places I've been that have beamed me back so quickly. When the music started we piled inside. Me and my twenty year old self. As I watched him play I felt a little like a voyeur. I had the thought at the end of his first song, while he screamed "look in my eyes" and the light bars peaked, that this is probably what it would look like to watch him masturbate. I liked it. In a way I wouldn't describe as enjoyable, but not forgettable either.

07.06

  I rented a cabin for a week in the woods in the middle of nowhere, with a little town a mile and a half away, and no sounds except the occasional beating of my dog’s tail against floorboards in response to a squirrel on a tree. I figured if I’m going to be alone, I should be really alone. Good or bad, I tend to take things to their extreme. It's been interesting to come out of the vulnerabilities of heartbreak and realize it's just me now, heart intact, and I've got all the same problems, maybe minus the sporadic crying while driving. Breakups will act as a magnifying glass, but the specks still exist. And they’ll come back to you like spit on a freeway. I remember around this time last year I was seeing a guy who told me I was like an optical illusion. He said I seemed very close to him, and I felt very close to everyone, but I was in a place where I couldn’t actually get close at all. It’s much harder to be vulnerable without heartbreak to hide behind. But I’m just starting to see the beauty. Right now I’m watching a dragonfly stuck in a water bowl that sits in a slice of sun on the corner of the porch. The lone fly is circling the perimeter, its wings beating desperately fast, making its own whirlpool, leaving a wake of diamond-shaped ripples that catch the light like a kaleidoscope.

05.05

Recently I was talking to a friend who had just broken up with his girlfriend. He was seeing someone, and he said it felt good, “Like I have so much power.” I held my wine close to my chest and shook my head. “You have no power.” I assured him, “None. You’ll see.” I don’t know why I said it. Usually I’m very supportive of delusion. I find optimism against almost all obstacles. It’s one of my best character traits. I’ll probably die seeing all the possibilities, the bright side of the next life. But it happened to be my birthday, and the dark cloud of “what have I accomplished and does anyone actually love me” obscured my sunny perspective. And the truth is I missed the feeling. I remember when I had it. When nothing really mattered because my feelings weren’t at stake. When I didn’t have any in the present. They only existed for the past. And I didn’t care about ego either so nothing could touch me. It was bliss. There was power in invincibility. I met a guy in an airport bar this weekend who had just backpacked through Washington. There was a tornado off the coast and he walked into the eye of the storm, six thousand feet up, through a white-out and torrential rains. They camped under a tarp in a nook in the mountain where it sloped down, so the rain would drain, and their tents wouldn’t flood and float away. He said he was scared. There was a minute when he thought he would die. “But,” he said, “We always make it.” He smacked his hand on the backpack next to him and said, “I’ve got this.” And he reminded me that though I no longer feel invincible, all I really need is the delusion of a backpack.

05.01

  I was talking to a friend the other day who said breakups were great. She said “Life’s gotten better after every break up I’ve ever had. It was like gasoline.” I think there’s truth to that, but I also think my friend is a certain type of person. I think the beautiful thing about breakups is that it throws you onto a precipice. You can either make big life changes or go off the deep end. I’m probably a deep-ender. I’ve (probably) done things I’d describe in a text as “huge mistake,” or woken up with the kind of regret you try to rub from your face, but can’t. I think you could pick a heartbroken person from a lineup. It exposes you in all your glory and weakness. Like gasoline yes, but gas is funny if you don’t know where to go, and you’re just driving, on and off cliffs, trying to empty the tank and land somewhere pretty. I told my friend I felt like I was swimming around, splashing and stuff. She said it sounded fun. I said it was, but I also wouldn’t mind an inner tube. I’d be okay for awhile floating on my back with the sun in my face.

04.17

  You find yourself one day and you can kiss someone dispassionately. You can be intimate without feeling close at all. You find yourself feeling nothing, a still puddle in the sun. A glassy lake with no ripples, just a lot of hot bugs zigzagging around. Something you never thought you’d be. But then I have one drink and one cigarette and one hour talking over a banjo and a fiddle in the back of a bar, and I remember what it feels like when the wind pushes waves through the lake, when there’s small fish and big fish and life in the lake. We talked about that one night, one year ago, when we both knew, and that one song that played when he gave me that one kiss that was the last. We signed for the drinks. I stood in the middle of the sidewalk. He held me around the waist. No other hands have felt like his. No other belly had that warmth. And even though he picked up a new cologne, which I knew because he told me, he bragged to me that one day how “daddy’s got a whole new scent,” I didn’t smell it. It belonged to the air beside him. I smelled him.

04.01

  I was at a bar a couple weeks ago and a man asked why I wasn't in a relationship. He meant it as a compliment. He said "how have you not been scooped up already?" I think I paused for a second, to swallow my wine, and responded with a very sarcastic "beats me." But the question took me by surprise. I think because it was misplaced, as if it wasn't something I chose. Like I was just a crust of bread in the sand, waiting for a big dark gull to swoop in and eat me. Maybe I'd be down, and sometimes I do feel that way. I'm not immune to standing over the kitchen counter, eating pasta from the pot, wondering when the next gull will fly by. I've been thinking recently about what it means to be alone. I can be so enamored by the idea, I'll think "alone is good for me right now," but then I'll also find myself three glasses in, stalking someone on Instagram with my hand down my pants. I think there's an art to it, and I'm still navigating. It's a new feeling to not know the map, where right and left are irrelevant, where east may be just as good as west. As lawless as the pacific, circling its coast looking for bread.

03.19

  I have a friend who sleeps horizontally at the foot of her bed. She says It's more comfortable that way. To rotate 90 degrees and move five feet down. The same bed she shared with her ex, but a different position. She says it helps. I fall asleep almost every night with the bedside lamp on. Something I used to do with my ex, dead asleep with an open book on my chest, until he elbowed me in the side and said "get the light" and I would reach with my eyes closed and turn it off. I was in bed last night and there was a horsefly buzzing around my nightstand. I was swatting it with my hands and pulling pillows over my ears until finally I pressed the switch on the lamp and it went away. It's been seven months since my ex and I broke up and a lot has changed. But it still feels sometimes like we keep breaking up, not in a repetitive sense, but like its a constant. Like the sound of an engine I just got used to hearing. Riding on a train car, and the paneled walls and the fast-moving view in the window makes you forget you live anywhere but there, in that worn upholstered seat. Your new home. Same you, different position.

03.10

I've been thinking a lot about routine lately. The two sides to it. It can be a good thing, like something I always wanted to have. Those friends that wake up at 7 every day and do spin until 8 and start work at 9, and have a glowing yoga complexion, because they're productive as usual. But it's also been a bad thing, getting stuck in a routine in a relationship, flaws that become habits, like caring for someone else before you tend to yourself. Choosing to do their chores, and not yours, because it's easier to live a life that's not so daunting as your own. I checked into a motel on the side of the road on the central coast. I brought my dog and when we first got here, she acted like maybe I took her a hundred miles up the 101 just to walk her to a rocky beach and drown her in the ocean. The first night she puked all over the floor. She wouldn't eat or drink water. And she ruined my first dinner by making dying sounds from the street that could be heard round the block of a one block town. The morning after I had rolled all the puke into one towel, and I watched the maid as she examined it, she spread it open, took it all in, and rolled it back up. She said nothing. Three days in, we've adapted. My dog now thinks we live in a sleepy beach town in Room 125. She sits on the stoop outside the motel door, guarding her new territory, proud as she walks with me in the morning to the coffee shop, serene as we get our smoked fish tacos in the afternoon and happy to greet all the new guests when they arrive. We've made a new routine so quickly. We needed to. The old is gone, rolled up in a towel, quietly thrown in the wash, like nothing happened, no one will ever know.

02.20

When my ex and I first broke up the most common question (even before "do you think you'll get back together?") was "why?" And for the longest time I couldn't give a straight answer because I didn't understand it myself. We had a good relationship. We were great as a couple, but towards the end there were fights that wouldn't end. Like unsolvable mysteries with no cheat sheet. I kept trying to flip to the back of the book to find the upside down clue that solved it all. I remember during that time, my ex asked me why I didn't just let him go. I kicked the front door open and said "please, by all means." But that made him laugh, which made me laugh too. He said it would be easier if I cheated on him, or we hated each other. It was true. That would have been easier. We tried. We took a camping trip in Montana de Oro, a sort of last ditch effort. We played backgammon by the light of battery operated lanterns. We listened to old soul on Bluetooth speakers. We walked the two-mile path along the beach. We  ignored the signs to leave wildlife alone, wading in tide pools, touching the bellies of starfish, stealing mollusk shells from sacred ground. We napped on a blanket in the cold sun. I held his head while we slept, we breathed each other's breath. It was beautiful, and it made it harder. I'm only now starting to understand. We were trying to fix our relationship, not us as individuals. We were trying to fix the wrong thing. So we lit the string on a stick of dynamite. The landscape changed, and we found ourselves in broken rocks and dust. But the dust settles, and at least now we're solving the right mysteries.

02.16

I've been on two design jobs simultaneously and it's been hard to think about feelings when I have color schemes and lampshades to obscure them so conveniently. I was on set one day and hit my head on a c-stand. The medic sat me down in a folding chair. He pulled my hair back gently and said "oh yea, you've got a little mouse on your head." He gave me an ice pack and a paper towel and said I should close my eyes and relax for ten minutes. I said okay. I looked at my phone and my ex had called me. There's nothing like the combination of a missed call from your ex and a head injury to make you feel thoroughly alone in the world. I sat in a dark room holding a ziplock to my forehead and tried not to cry, but cried anyway. I felt like I would remember it. It would be one of those moments. Like a memory you see so clearly, vividly, but one that meant almost nothing while you lived it. A woman pulling her little girl on a leash, telling her to "come on mami." The wasabi eating contest you lost because your eyes burned up and let a hot tear slip. The winner sat across from you and got high fives around the table. A moment of weakness. It would be like that. Something you don't particularly want  to remember. Nostalgia can be a killer. My friend is in Florence right now. He emailed me about places to go. I told him he should find my first boyfriend, Luca. I told him the bar where he could find him, and after I pressed send I felt suddenly like I wished I could be nineteen again, walking by the Duomo in the dark, drunk on champagne and tagliatelle, speaking bad Italian, unconcerned by exchange rates. I know it's misplaced emotion, which I think is okay but I can't wait to feel less. It's just hard. There's a little mouse on my head I keep trying to forget about.

02.14

My friend was telling me recently he wanted the life of his grandfather. An old fisherman with girlfriends in multiple states, a chain smoker, single and happy. I said that was nice. I can respect it. There are many good reasons to be alone. But there's also those times when you're alone in the backseat of an uber, stumbling home, trying to get a sticky key to turn at two in the morning. It's almost the 14th. It never meant much to me. Except this year is a hard one because it was me and my ex's anniversary. I don't think about it usually, but then I do at times, like today when I was dressing a set, potting a cactus, getting stabbed in the hands, and I got an email from Credit Karma wishing me a Happy Valentine's Day. I deleted it, swiped left with a bleeding thumb. And it made me remember how long it's been. So long that the nicknames we had for each other seem like a foreign language, so far away that friends have started replacing "are you okay" with "are you dating anyone?" And as distant as it is, it comes back easy. I'm writing a script about broken relationships. I'm developing it with a director and last time we met I was telling her the worst thing about it is losing the person who understands you and you get them, and you can sit on the porch with your legs intertwined, drink whiskey and talk about your dads. And you know what kind of face their dad makes when his son tells a good joke. It's hard not to think of it as a happier time. I'm trying to be happier now. Like a grinning fisherman on his way to see Susan in Missouri because she gave good head that one time after the bars closed.

02.06

I was meeting with a director last night. We were talking about the set design for a shoot coming up. At one point he folded his hands on the desk, leaned over his elbows and said "I want to make a masterpiece." I said okay. I do too. I've been trying my whole life. I'm in that sort of washed over state that comes after a breakup. Where you can only drink so much Cabernet and sit with your eyes closed, with your arms crossed, your cherry falling off the cigarette while you try and figure out who you are, what your life turned into. Sometimes feeling a hand on your waist is all you need. Sometimes it doesn't matter who you're kissing. Sometimes it feels nice to be alone, in those hours of doing the things you always wanted to do, but forgot because you weren't lonely or uncomfortable. It's a tough pill facing a half-done canvas that's been looking at you for years, and covered in dust. I ran into an old friend today. I was telling him about what happened with my ex and I. He said he always thought of me as a muse. I said that was sweet. I used to like that. But I don't want to be the one sitting for the portrait anymore.

02.01

I've been thinking a lot about the transition period after a break up. I prop-styled a shoot yesterday and gave the photographer a ride home. He was telling me about how the last time he ended a relationship, he sold everything he owned, moved to another city for four months, and deleted every app on his phone. He showed me proof, a blank blue home screen. He got into meditation and psychedelics. I told him I just got drunk and horny for two months. He said "that's all?" I said no. It's been longer. He said I should try new things that make me happy, like maybe I should learn tantric or take a ceramics class. When I first broke up with my ex I spent a lot of time sitting on my friends porch, alone in the sun drinking rose, staring at grass, taking pictures of my thighs. I ate exclusively microwave food and trader joes salads. I walked around life like the meme of that painted Victorian lady with a sword through her neck and the text below that said "I'm fine." You get a free pass after a breakup. You can cry during work meetings, cover your face and ask potential clients to please not look at you. You can drink too much and feel too little. Even morals get blurred. But the free pass runs out and when it does you realize you're starting again. And it's kind of nice. Because anything can come from a clean start. It's as bright and blue as an empty phone's home screen.

01.30

I was writing tonight. I was trying to remember a fight my ex and I had. It was Halloween. I was dressed as Charlie Chaplin. I couldn't think of what we argued about but I do have a clear image, seeing myself in the mirror, my black eyeliner mustache smeared across my cheek. It feels harder now to remember the bad things, things that mattered so much that he would splinter the wood on the bedroom door and kick it off its hinges, or what made me cry, eating pepperoni pizza with a wet face, chewing slowly, staring at the crack in the baseboard. The good things come much easier. My ex texted me the other night from Austin. He was passing a hotel where we stayed, a city where we sat around a kitchen table and drank whiskey with his grandmother, where we went to an empty dive bar on the edge of town and joked with an old regular, a close talker with a thick accent, who named me "Spot" and said I reminded him of his third wife. She had freckles too. My ex texted me nice things, like how lucky we were to get to have each other. We were lucky. But it starts to move really fast when you talk in past tense. And life continues. He said it felt like a past life now. Like a lost set of keys, buried somewhere in the sand in Malibu. An old house and gone days, nights when I slept in a worn bed, breathing the breath of someone I used to know. Now it's new breath from strange mouths, new smells and different colored skin. Because when you lose your keys, the only option is to cut a fresh set.

  

01.24

I was paying at a liquor store last night, pulling out pennies for my $11.07 bottle of Pinot when the store filled with the sound of a mechanical cat. No one seemed to notice. The cashier was just straight- faced, holding her hand out, waiting for my seventh cent. I looked around the aisles. Maybe a toy with a "press me" button, or a hidden door that led lucky souls down a black hole into the paws of a hungry cat. It could go both ways. But the security guard tapped me on the shoulder before I could find out asked if he could help me. I said "I'm trying to find where that meow came from." He laughed and pointed at the wall. "The clock. Every hour it meow." He shook his head. "People always ask where's the meow." I ran into my ex over the weekend. I was standing behind him at a coffee shop. It didn't surprise me. We've never really been able to make a clean break. We both like things a little dirty. I don't even like taking showers. I just do it because I have to, like paying taxes. I was telling a friend the other night how when I moved, while I was unpacking I came across a piece of torn lined paper that said "Dear cat, sorry I got cream on your face" with a drawing of a crying dog, a tear coming down its cheek. He wrote it after a fight we had in the kitchen which ended with him shaking an open box of soy creamer at my head. It took a long time to unpack that box, and even still there's one more that's marked "photos/journals" which I haven't touched. I put a towel on top and buried it in the coat closet. The mechanical cat in the liquor store reminded me. There are small landmines all over the city. I can't always put a towel on them and push them in the corner. But I'm working on being more like the straight-faced cashier who doesn't hear the meows anymore.

01.19

I got blocked on Instagram the other night by a girl my ex is dating. A first for me. It happened because my ex posted a picture of her in front of a news headline that said "wife from hell". I wasn't into it and the friend who I was with didn't like it either and made a couple unwelcome comments. She did me a favor though. I saw too much. I'd think "you really shouldn't" and then I would type her name into the search bar and open images that gave me sensations a little like getting stabbed by a butter knife. I'd try to talk myself out of it. But it's like when you put 10% of your paycheck in savings and say "this time I'm not going to touch it" and then three days later you transfer it into checking while you're standing in line at whole foods. I was asked to write a treatment for a show that's being pitched. The concept about love and relationships. I (obviously) pulled from life and wrote a pretty thorough account of the life cycle of my ex and I. In it, I mention a shadow box he made for me on one of our anniversaries where he superglued the bottle of Jim Beam we drank on our first date. I showed him the treatment and he told me later he threw the bottle away. He said he was purging and it was the last thing he trashed. He said he just thought "fuck the past" and he did it. Gone. It seemed right. If things are going to end, better they're tied up in a bag and driven away in a dump truck. Better to be blocked on Instagram. Life has its cycles. I'm happy we had ours, but somehow it's nice to feel the ending, to stare goodbyes in the face. For example, I just looked at a potted plant in my living room and said, "you're dead."

01.10

  I was alone in Bella Thorne's hotel room this morning packing up flower arrangements and lights I had brought in for a behind-the-scenes video. When I called the concierge for a luggage cart they said they would "send one right up Ms. Thorne." I said "Thank you." I waited for about twenty minutes but before I called back to say "what's taking so long?" I stopped myself because I didn't want anyone to think Ms. Thorne was impatient with a bad attitude. I rearranged some of the bags in my car. A vase had broken in one so when I pulled my hand out my pinky finger had a pretty deep slice down the middle. I drove across town with Space Oddity on blast, drumming my fingers on the wheel, bleeding down the side of my palm, singing "I'm just floating in a tin can". I've been thinking a lot about being uncomfortable. When my ex and I were talking about breaking up he said he thought it would be good for me. I told him he was a fucking asshole, and "please don't act like you're doing me a favor." I sat on the porch and watched leafy branches blow in the wind. I watched them lean on telephone poles, then move away. I've been uncomfortable. All the worn and cozy things in my life replaced by fresh and foreign. But I'm starting to see that uncomfortable has its merits. Sometimes you need to be thrown into space on a tin can to see that planet earth is blue and there's nothing I can do.

01.09

I've been listening to a Missy Elliott song on repeat. "Pass Da Blunt." It's so great. I'm the type who can listen to the same song over and over. I can eat the same things, and if I really like someone I see no reason to leave them alone. I was talking to my friend last night about image. We did karaoke a few weeks ago and took a picture kissing at the bar. I told her I wouldn't post it on Instagram. I said my "everything is great!" image is thoroughly shot but I wouldn't do the same to her. These days when people ask me how I'm doing my response is "so good" with a lot of sarcasm. It's not like I'm lonely and horny and on the low end of a three-digit bank account. That would be rough. I'm doing great. I'm on a design job right now doing a hotel room for a golden globe pre-party and today on the phone with the florist, I said "I think the deeper the color, the richer they feel" and that's sort of how I feel in general. Right now I'm only interested in image if its color is deep and saturated. On repeat. Like Missy Elliott. Who's making me want to dance to reggae in a red-lit bar. So I'm going to go do that, I'll be dancing downtown with a girl that I kissed because I like her a lot and I don't want to leave her alone.

01.08

  I had a meeting tonight in the valley. I exited the freeway behind a pt cruiser with a flashing turn signal. The blinker remained blinking at a red light on Woodman and stayed on for a good three blocks until I turned on Ventura and lost them. My mom used to forget the blinker and it drove me crazy. The clicking. My ex used to leave the tea kettle whistling. He'd be upstairs, the tea screaming from the kitchen, me yelling from my desk to "get the fucking tea" and he'd just work through it, typing away on his laptop. I'm trying to separate my ex from people I'm seeing now. Because it's like trying to date with a blinker clicking in the background. It can be hard. A guy I was dating tried to FaceTime me the other night. I had just upgraded my iCloud storage and (I realized this later) the extra space freed up from an old iPad, which my ex has now. He answered the call on the iPad and they had probably a five- minute conversation about I don't know what, but which ended with my ex texting me a blurry screenshot of two uncomfortable faces. Later we were talking about it. He said it was a funny addition to our narrative. I had to stop him for a second and remind him that our almost-seven year relationship wasn't a "narrative." But it's kind of easier to look at it that way. Which I think is why I like writing these, even though posting them is sort of like spraying man repellant. But I don't care. I don't want to be driving through life with my blinkers on.

01.04

  I just dropped my sister off at her friends house and picked up my dog from the dog sitter. I made a wrong turn. When you’re going south on the 2 and the freeway ends, it throws you out on Glendale and you can veer right on Alvarado or veer left to stay on Glendale and turn on Montana. My old house was off Montana. My new one is Alvarado. Like a tick, I stay to the left. And blindly push my wheel when I see the sign for Montana. It’s been four months since I got the call from Paris. When my ex called me. It was three am his time, six pm mine. I was in our bedroom, in the second-story of our unkept craftsman. When I answered the phone and listened to his voice and pressed end call. When I went downstairs to answer the door, and my friend came in with a brown- bagged bottle of Malbec, and I cut cheese into slices and cried on the cutting board. It’s been four months since I’ve lived off Montana. And I've veered left a lot of times.

12.28

I came to Palm Springs with my mom and sister for a Christmas getaway. They're in a bar watching the Patriots game. My sister is wearing a Pats scarf, the blue and red logo around her neck. I'm standing outside a Starbucks in the cold sun looking at development buildings under construction. I'm looking at the street where my ex and I biked, the theater where we had sex in the parking lot after midnight, the casino where we lost $500 on craps, which was the last of our money, but we found it funny, and still made out against slot machines, our pockets emptied, holding beers limply in our hands. My ex and I used to fight about where to go in the desert. He liked Joshua tree. I liked Palm Springs. I think because I like people and he likes country. But Palm Springs is different now. It's not as good. It has stores with neon trucker hats that say "Bronzing is my Cardio" and tall mid century skeletons of new hotels with orange cranes and cement trucks parked out front. My ex was right. Joshua tree is better. But there's a Palm Springs that I'll always have. When I laid by the pool under a thin umbrella and drank free PBR (courtesy of the hotel) and watched my ex float with pink and purple noodles under his arms. That's mine. Even when the construction is done and the cement trucks drive away.

12.20

Im in bed. It's freezing in my house, and quiet. There's the sound of a futile heater running in the wall and an occasional sigh from my dog who's sleeping on my legs. There's the smell of weed from two boys who smoke on the steps next to my house. One lives across the street and one comes over every night and double parks his silver Camry in front of a row of trash cans at the end of the cul-de-sac. They sit on stone steps and talk in low voices. I'm thinking about boys. Not because I want to, but because I'm cold and I miss having a big leg to warm my feet.And because I'm re-reading text threads. And stalking people on Instagram. I was deep down on one. Like, so far that I wouldn't press sound on any of the videos because I was scared my finger would lose control and tap twice. I should go to bed. I'll dream of making out with a stranger in a field somewhere.

12.18

My ex and I were texting earlier today about a good time for me to come pick up mail and decided on 6:30. I'm late, which is normal for me. I just parked. I'm sitting in my car with my seat belt buckled and the car running. Changing my address is probably one of the easiest things to do. I could probably go online right now and fill out a form on usps.com and it would be done in like 5 minutes. But instead I text him once a week and we arrange a time for me to come over and walk up the porch steps and open the door to the house that used to be mine. I give him a hug and we talk and he hands me a pile of mail with a rubber band around it. It's somehow comforting, and disturbing at the same time. These little things that keep us tied together that aren't as obvious as packing my stuff in boxes, taking the record player that we bought together, changing our relationship status on Facebook. Things like the utilities at his place are still in my name. I get an email from the gas company every time he pays a bill. He uses my Amazon Prime, so I know about the documentary he watched two nights ago, and the usb he bought last week. It arrived on Saturday and Amazon wants to know how I like it, if I could fill out a quick customer survey. I think in a month or two all these little ties will be gone. He will pick up the phone and call the Gas Company and I'll go to the post office, but for now I'm going to get out my car because, you know, I have mail to get.

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floating in a TIN CAN

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