When you realize that someone doesn’t love you, your first reaction should not be anger, although it often is. It’s an understandable and expected response. You’re suffering a loss that you never really gained—the absence of whispers, defining moments, and lifelines that could have been.
Recently, I’ve learned to buckle down what I refer to as The Upset; I strap it down until I’ve figured out its new shape and how heavy it might be during this go around. I envision The Upset as a sulky disheveled monster, born and amassed from the salt and iron in my veins. The Upset is the part of me that I can’t predict and frankly, shouldn’t have to. It is as exhausting as it is transformative. It is all encompassing. And I strap that unruly bitch down because I don’t want it tethered to any part of me. I don’t want hulking rocks in my shoes to make each step away from you harder than it should. And in spite of my resolve, the quickness in my stride, it’s still a struggle.
A pictorial of what I envision to be “The Upset.” The artist, my friend, calls the piece her emotional diarrhea. A beast by many names.
When I walk in, I see him sprawled out on the floor.
The night begins with the full intent of crawling into a dark bar and forgetting my sensibilities, if only for a few hours. Instead, we fail. We drive. We watch people my parents’ age dance inappropriately and drink too much tequila. We leave and they call us quitters. The evening ends in “He’s Just Not That Into You” words of movie wisdom and the promise to drive my friends to the train station in the morn. I am not ashamed, though my back aches from falling asleep on their carpet-covered cement. I get up, feeling the call of my tiny twin bed. I feel the weight of my 23 years.
Two hours later, I see him stumble towards the comfort of flashing lights, flanked by UPD who are accustomed to this show. Spring Break peaks too early for this one. He will learn, but more importantly, he will live. I keep his wallet as a seven-hour souvenir and remind myself to give it to him after the stomach pump.
The entire building reeks, as we’re enveloped by the beer, whiskey, and meat smell. The air feels especially porous.
I rethink my occupational choices.
There is no time to get shitfaced and sexy. There is no need. The two do not equate.
Instead, the manchild who has too much fun with the drink goes to the hospital – tubes down the throat and a banana bag.