Thursday, October 8, 2009
On cold days, she thinks about missed opportunities. She'll sit on the bed and listen to playlists called "pity party" and "last love story" with a blanket wrapped up around her chin like fuzzy armor. She also makes tea, which she sometimes doesn't drink, just lets it perfume the air with Chamomile Lullaby or Pan Asia Green.
Today was one of those days, and she was back to that dangerous trap of "what-if" that makes cold days so treacherous. It was this sort of thinking, she would tell herself later, that made it so difficult to move forward, but that warning would always come too late.
Instead she was thinking about him. About car rides out to Lake Michigan in the middle of the night, about inside jokes, and that stupid Christmas present when she joked about ever little girl wanting a pony. She remembered crying on his shoulder when her little sister got into that car accident and he took her to the hospital. He didn't even make a joke about women drivers for once.
And then there was that mixtape. A real, honest-to-goodness mixtape he made her after she dragged him to Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and he insisted that there was no way his girl was going to be swooning over a pussy like Michael Cera. She'd thought it was all stupid bravado until he handed her the CD the next time he came over.
Speaking of... she walked over to the back closet with her rainboots and dog walking coat. Standing on her toes, she pulled out the "vintage" hatbox she'd gotten at Marshall's and stored on the top shelf just in case.
There it was.
Without pausing to think, she popped it into her laptop and waited for the first chord of +44's "Make you smile." Listening to it again... it was almost like a month ago. Back before the shouting, the crying, the passive-aggressive Facebook statuses.
But then, as she kept listening, wrapped in her fleece blanket and staring at the steam coming off of her tea that the rest started pouring back. Those little misogynistic digs, that god-awful hoodie, every time he stood her up, the smell of cigarettes in his car. And of course, Her.
The CD had ended, and the only sound left in the room was the whirring of her computer and her breathing. She needed to get up, out of the apartment, but her inner cheerleader was too busy worrying about the mascara smudges she was bound to have under her eyes.
She tapped eject, satisfied with the solid "click" her keyboard made, carefully returned the disk to its case, the case to the hatbox. She then walked over to the closet, pulled out the rainboots, and took that damn hatbox out to the dumpster. It was time.