I woke up this morning and threw up. I wasn’t even sure I could stay on my feet, and I retched up bile and nothing.


The day cast me back into his domain, his memories, ripe with a certain kind of a lingering pain I hadn’t expected. There is anything I could have dealt with except for the familiar. He kept coming up, and he is gone. A friend was kind enough the night before to remind me he was never here. I’d never let myself remember that. I’d never maybe realized. Maybe. I.

All the signs of him were gone, but all the holes were even more obvious: lockers without locks, and nametags pulled off; aprons discarded leaving empty hooks; a can misplaced, his tools all scattered. I wonder if his work was ever here.

I went to my classes and I was terrified. I made pleasant conversation with all of the old cronies, but they’re the people I never knew. I saw the professors who put on happy smiles and hand out expectations as if they aren’t already etched in my forehead (no wait, maybe those were mine, engraved by fire, tearing my skin). I haven’t an original idea in my body, and my skill has never been a compulsion. It’s just been a way to get things out, and right now I don’t even know what the things might be.

An ex-boyfriend told me once that I was never happy where I was. He asked, he implored, why am I never happy where I am? He gave me pain. I wonder it now myself. I wonder all of his questions over and over and over again.

Unpleasant email from my family, attacks in text when I was just starting to think things were alright. I don’t know what he’s talking about. One weekend at a time, maybe once in a given three months, I go back, who knows. I don’t remember, but have a feeling I will never live it down. As always.

I went back to my apartment with a heaviness like despair and hurt and no concept of how to push it out so I started painting. My roommate stepped behind to look over my shoulder – which I hate — when he got home and asked ‘o-o-o-h ... is that ... is this an homage to ...?’

Oh no.

I haven’t an original idea in my body. I thought I was working through some things I’d started last year ... now I remember they were all based on him. Every one.

I have nothing left. And no idea I want to see him in my work or in my head or in my tears. I cried. I cried silently so my roommate wouldn’t hear, so tired and so alone. He broke up with his girlfriend yesterday and he’s not himself. He’s haggard. He’s a lot like me. But quieter. He never would have come up behind me otherwise. He said he knew it was a bad idea the minute he did it. But still...

I don’t know where to go.

This year was supposed to be my triumph but now I’m beating myself. Maybe there’s nothing here. Maybe I’m just supposed to be ordinary. Then again, maybe I’ll make it ok. Maybe there’s art here after all. Maybe it’ll be wonderful, and I’ll shake off these ghosts at last.

Maybe I just need to go to sleep.