24 Years In and This Is What I’ve Got
Someday, we’ll laugh through our teeth. We’ll arrange dinner on the table in different colored bowls, and always remember to pick up the bread. We’ll wear heels without blisters, and head home after the second glass. Cheek kisses. We’ll talk about our gardens as if they were children, and never be late for work — even when there’s traffic. We’ll time the metro exactly right. We’ll make the bed before company and own three different pearl necklaces. We’ll invest, and vote, and coupon. Always remember to call our mothers. Someday.
Today, though, we’ll laugh ugly. We’ll pound the table until tears are streaming down our cheeks, and spill the water everywhere. We’ll eat Ramen three days a week, and call a salad vegetables. We’ll be late. We’ll finish the bottle and order another, even though it’s Tuesday. We’ll be proud when we remember our purses and cry in a hundred more bar bathrooms. We’ll feel lonely and aimless and terrified for the future. We’ll feel unbreakable and alive. Today, the future is only tomorrow, and we’re just doing our best to get there.
You don’t sob over movies anymore, but you also forget their endings. Lose track of the characters and sometimes, forget you even saw the thing at all.
Is this how it’s supposed to feel?
Nothing’s a big deal.
You don’t panic when you realize you can’t escape the metro in between stops — but you also fail to wonder why your seatmate is rubbing her temples.
Did you even notice?
No, loneliness won’t yank at the bottom of your stomach as if looped on a paperweight, but you’ll also hug the lonely with looser arms — they won’t bring you to tears with their admissions.
Are you even listening?
Yeah, you’ll slide out of bed and brew up your coffee and make it to work without
What does this all mean or Here we go again even crossing your mind — but how long have you been sitting at that keyboard?
When’s the last time you could taste your heart in your mouth?
This is stable and painless and making it through,
but how many days has it been since you’ve looked up from the pavement?
In my house, the walls will be brick, chipped and grandfatherly against an airy white couch. Always so many pillows that they fall to the floor; a velvety blanket draped across everything.
The bathroom will have a claw foot bathtub, crouched expectantly next to a sprawling window masked by gauzy curtains. A toothbrush always strewn across the sink, lavender soap, a clean mirror.
The bedroom will be grey, soft and quiet, an overstuffed mattress settled in the corner. Cool sheets and a thick quilt. Healthy plants stretching their arms. A gilded bookshelf.
The kitchen will be large and bright enough to cook meals comfortably. A bowl of bright rainbow fruit on the counter. Faded blue wedding china stacked in the cupboards. A pot of strong coffee sitting on the table by the window, always — next to a pitcher of water and a wet lemon cake. Endless bottles of red wine, and a joint in a little white dish.
Each room will smell like hyacinth in the springs and summers, windows thrown open so we can hear people bustling to work, children laughing from stoops with chalk messages scratched across them.
In the winter, the house will be warm, smell like pine and maple, always have a bath running and a pot of cider on the stove.
Every Sunday, friends will huddle around the family room table, spooning salt and eggs and tomatoes into bowls cradled between their hands. Glancing at each other knowingly across the table.