how I survived and even laughed

Standard Cafe. The last of summer.

Ale léto bylo příjemné, ne? She asked me. I winced at the choice of her words and wondered whether she was mocking me because secretly she knew. A woman’s intuition. Smoke circled around us in transparent clouds and I felt his gaze just behind my left shoulder.

Yeah, the summer was great, I replied. It wasn’t a lie but at the same time, I sighed a breath of relief when the last days of August rolled into September. It meant I could start over. Hit refresh as if that would somehow make all the unfortunate disappear. I’ve lost count how many times I already thought that I am done. This is the last one. One more and all my marbles will be gone. Except it seems that I always have one more tragedy in me. One more, then one more.

I barely slept in the summer and it wasn’t until he was gone and I returned to books that I realized that he was the cause of my partial insomnia and unconscious teeth-grinding. I felt like I needed to live up to an ideal manufactured in his head and I couldn’t match his dreams with hair color or auditory abilities. I wasn’t willing to listen to him. Or trust him.

Everything changed after the Of Montreal concert. Everything changed after he drove me home and filled my fridge with all things coconut. Everything changed when the sun no longer shone but he still was one. That’s when I finally let go of all the fabricated notions of my emotions — the illusions — and accepted that despite how we ended, the story of four hugs was only a beginning.

Then I left again. I keep leaving and I think one day I won’t come back anymore. It’s happened before.

This entire year — my life when I think about it — is just me acting in a series of scenes where I am leaving and coming back. Shuffling between work and my apartment; the seaside and Prague; them and him. I’ve been avoiding writing. Which is to say, I’ve been avoiding myself.

Because there are things that I cannot write about; things I don’t want to write about. I carried them around for a while like carry-on luggage. Quite like the one with his name written in blue pen on one side of it. I’ve been meaning to return it – give it away except it would make no difference in the grand scheme of things. It wasn’t until I started sleeping, it wasn’t until I woke up with a clear head in the morning that it became safe enough for me to return to my words. To myself.

I stopped holding my inhalations in and started breathing again.