I’m sitting at a bus stop outside my building at 5 o’clock in the morning. Dawn is coming, and the newspaper delivery vans are cruising the streets and dropping off their bundles. I can’t find the courage to stand up and walk up the stairs to my apartment, because I seem to be out of the groove, and I know I won’t find it there. I’m a walking zombie, stuck in a haze of anti-depressants and nicotine and unable to find sleep or joy in anything tonight. I’m a crushed up filter between two tired fingers, the ember long pinched off, the only useful things about me smoldering on the sidewalk. I couldn’t stay with her tonight and I couldn’t keep anyone beside me before now. I am gripped by loneliness and robbed of purpose this evening, and no amount of thinking is going to get me through this. So I stare at the sidewalk and think about nothing. When thoughts do enter my head, they go through a cycle of you, her, and us back then, and all of the old memories I want to keep away. Everything I accomplished with the day seems paltry when stacked up against a long evening of thinking when I won’t let myself sleep. All the words and letters I wrote today are bullets aimed at tanks with thick iron skin. Useless gestures slapped onto pages being crippled with bullshit prose.
There aint nothing as dead as a dead romance, and our romance is long dead. It’s been almost two years now, and I’m still thinking about it. Do you ever get over these things? There’s no chance of a round 2 with us, you saw to that. I should be moving on and happy, with a skip in my step at thoughts of all the warm blankets that call my name, and all the soft lips that bite my earlobes and tell me I’m welcome to stay all night. Yet I walk off and onward, to cling to this bus seat bench, tranquilized with thoughts of lighting another cigarette to keep me from having to face the walk up two flights of stairs to my empty apartment; empty of comfort, empty of solace, empty of a bed I want to sleep in, and empty of a quick respite from the dawn.
I know if I go home, all I’ll want to do is draw the curtains and remain submerged for an entire day, but that’s not healthy, my therapist told me so, and I usually like to follow their advice.
I wanted to stay beside her tonight. I wanted to run my fingers over her body and kiss her shoulders and her lips and lay beside her till sleep found me. Yet intimacy was like a mousetrap I’ve escaped from before, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to make myself risk it again, even for one night. Sleeping beside someone else is too dangerous, because I’ve been hurt, and my ripped up heart barely beats anymore as it is. So I keep a million miles away, and leave comfortable and inviting beds for the solace of a Fernwood dawn and a walk past dew covered school fields that offer a view worth stopping to enjoy. Yet the pretty sights don’t help, and I wonder why I can’t just be happy and drink in the robin’s egg blues of dawn, since I so rarely get to see these things when I’m locked in a death struggle with the writing and myself till late at night, every night.
I feel like a burned out match, chucked into the street to burn out its last sulfur in a thin wisp, my purpose already fulfilled, yet still existing as a dead object out on a dawn street. I have my kingdom among the cigarette butts and empty beer cans of some others misspent Saturday night, and heavy lies to the crown.
I don’t light another cigarette, I just stare at the abstract cracks of the cement and wonder if the other bus stops in the city are staffed by lonely hearts and deep thinkers like myself; if each route has its own well kept routine of people who sit at the stops early in the morning and ponder their terminal romances past and present. Dead on arrival loves that won’t respond to the shock paddles, if any of us even took the effort to take them out. We are a Miles Davis mute solo in human form, lost and adrift in a sea of streetlights turning off, early morning coffee shop open signs flickering on, and the morning seagulls caws as birds take flight off the roofs of apartment buildings we’re all avoiding the inside of.
We’d call someone if anyone were up. We’d text someone if anyone was around, but the email inbox is full of spam, and the fridge is empty, and the sane people we know are all in bed. I say, “we,” and invent this force of bus stop dwellers, so that I myself feel less alone on the stark, dank outskirts of a night’s sleep, trapped in an outpost with a brightly lit ad for a local school and the walls painted with sharpie scrawled slang.
I compose myself eventually, go inside and write 1000 words and listen to something to try and greet the dawn. I don’t feel any better, and part of me hopes that someone having the same night as me reads this, and feels less alone.