you hurt a lot

My last Trample ride of the season took place Thursday night, when the air was cool — it already felt like fall, and I felt a little like a ghost. There was a full moon, dark green field, thick row of trees, and train rolling down the tracks. Perfect. And I realized, listening to it come this time, that the sound it makes is actually, probably a warning, though I’ve always considered it a greeting.

Audio was there this time; he talked to me here and there and rode through the dark alley with me on our way back to the shop (lights off, jazz playing from somewhere), but I left without saying goodbye; feelings change, and I’m glad.

“I didn’t know he was going to be here tonight,” my cool friend Jon said, following me to my car.

I smiled. “Yeah…” I didn’t have the energy to explain that it didn’t matter anymore.

“Class on Thursday nights STINKS and I’ll NEVER do it again, but at least I’ll still see you at our cafe on the weekends!” I reassured both of us, hugging Jon and wishing him a safe and happy night.

 

**

 

The next evening, I went to a punk (or post-punk — not my usual genre) show with a guy. He shared his beer with me and we had a great time together, talking and looking at each other and walking through Avondale Park at midnight.

But before saying goodnight, we talked about the real shit, and I told him that I was happy to be his friend. I couldn’t reliably ask for anything else from him, and my intuition exhaled peacefully at the word as soon as I’d said it.

 

**

 

This afternoon, I’m at a cafe with Charlie; he’s drawing and I’m on-and-off studying Spanish. We’re catching up with a friend at Rojo in a little while.

During our ride over to Crestwood, we somehow ended up talking about smells and how each person has their own distinct smell.

“Of all the guys I’ve dated,” I told Charlie, laughing a little, “you and Christopher smelled the best. I remember you smelling like coffee back then, so now, I always think of you when I’m around coffee,” I smiled. “And Christopher… he smelled… spicy.” I couldn’t think of how to describe it, at first, but then I knew. “He smelled like the fall.” Then I cried. I didn’t even think, I’m going to cry — my soul just took over and started weeping for me. Fuck, I thought to myself, truly exhausted. When will he go go go away? 

I gave a quick tour of downtown Birmingham to my neighbor’s nephew earlier this morning (a 29-year-old guy from Chile), and by tour, I mean I showed him my favoritest parts: Red Cat, Railroad Park, and the Pepper Place Farmer’s Market. We spoke exclusively in Spanish, which was REALLY cool, and right out of the gate, I told him (in Spanish): “I don’t have or want a boyfriend — I’m pursuing peace right now.” I believe that honesty is true kindness. I don’t want to date him, or anyone. I want to be whole again, and I’m still not sure exactly how that works.

 

**

 

And with all prospects gone, I feel less burdened. Disheartened, certainly (because I truly love living the companion lifestyle), but relieved also. I forgot to mention this earlier, but the concert guy encouraged me to pursue other romantic endeavors; I replied that I was happy to be taking a break, and while happy isn’t really the best word for it, deciding to go it alone for a while has given me this deep sense of… stillness. I guess that’s the word. It’s kind of like I’ve tied all of my self-doubt and related chaos up in a bag and set it down by the road.

 

Because here’s the thing: I’m not looking for someone to entertain me or help me while the time away — I have plenty of ways to amuse myself and lots of things to occupy my time and am after something much deeper, and I’m also finally ready to hold out for it: A relationship that feels, and is, healthy and not a frenzied grasping for love that simply isn’t there. I’m sick of re-realizing, with a broken heart, that I’ve just overly-invested myself in another fucking game some not-rad dude was playing.

 

And while I was riding my bike this Thursday, a silent and poignant line struck me in the dark: “You hurt a lot.” It wasn’t really about me or someone else hurting in general — it seemed to be more about how the mere existence or memory of another person can cause physical pain and spiritual anguish. Like, instead of saying “the blade hurts a lot” or “the fire hurts a lot”, YOU hurt a lot. You are, intrinsically, an instrument of great pain.

Maybe this makes sense, maybe it doesn’t — but here’s a weird little poem I wrote about it.

 

you hurt a lot
aun aqui

 

I rock back and forth, you go side to side
you hurt a lot
cutoff shorts in frays like tassels
you hurt a lot
“the first sip’s the best,” ha-ha
you hurt a lot
hot air on the neck, some soul in its castle
you hurt a lot
“tell me when it changes,” yeah… yeah
you hurt a lot
“i can’t properly say this,” yeah yeah 
you hurt a lot
coffee breath and dirty finger nails
you hurt a lot
some stupid cut on your stupid elbow
you hurt a lot
“so granola,” you’re shaking your head
you hurt a lot
“so let’s go to nola,” please — please… 
you hurt a lot
Still here,
Aun Aqui

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