Somewhere along the way, I thought my sadness meant something.
It would happen whenever I rode above ground on the J train from Manhattan into Brooklyn—something about seeing the tiny lights with all the people I didn’t know inside them, something about knowing how cold it would be once I stepped outside. It GOT to me, man! It would happen again whenever my lips would stain red from too much wine and my feet would go underneath my legs and I would put my head in my hands. Or whenever the water in my shower hit my head a certain way, down my eyes and into my mouth and out I would spit it. Or when I would hold a book I finished. Or look out the window. Frustration. Eyes squeezed shut. A lonely feeling gripped me like a hug from a relative I’ve seen only at weddings and funerals. I went out with friends and never knew what to say, because you couldn’t say you were in a tunnel that lead to no light. A girl who really knows how to laugh on the outside, wear her eyeliner on the outside, crack gracefully.
And I knew how to crack, to break lightly, to move my limbs in the correct motions and function perfectly except for the moments I chose to think about love in the middle of the night. This made me a genius or an artist because I could shatter myself or drown myself as I chose to. The perk of being an adult wallflower, purveyor of those who stood in the middle of the room. I am encompassing all you are afraid to feel, I say as I pluck the cherry from-goddamn it-my Manhattan. I am Jack’s incredible awareness, if that reference was more high-brow. I am restless, I am your legs kicking the blankets off your bed at night, and I am better than you for knowing all of it.
I swear I had read it somewhere on the Internet, but this kind of sadness was surely the best and more literary kind of sadness. It was a badge with a sad little face on it because I didn’t take part in the simple pleasures of being happy. Too simple! An aboveground train. I had a laugh with a hole in the middle. Because of what? Because of being unsure and young and ready to spit love like venom or sugar water at a moment’s notice, and that gave me no time for simple PLEASURES. I knew the world was more than fun or moments of fleeting smiles. It was dark and hard and you lost everything, in the end.
Yet. I am a liar and I am an asshole sometimes and I am wrong, a lot.
I have an incredible desire to be happy. I have an incredible desire to fill my hands, my mouth, my eyes with happiness, and all I had was the sadness I laid on like a fainting couch. I do not want to be sad. I do not feel better being sad. There are people who cannot control being sad and I am a shithead. I want to remember how wonderful and beautiful truly NICE moments can be, too.
I want to lay in the taxi on your shoulder and try hard to remember the lyrics to this song because it sounds like something I want to hear later. I want to drop an eggshell in a baking dish full of sugar and have my friend get it out with her nail. I want to skip a little when I’m walking home. I want to kiss a dog and get sauce on my mouth and pee a little when I laugh. I want to talk about how I used to sit in a car in a high school parking lot and how stupid is that? I want to look at old pictures. I want to lay on my back next to you. I want to go to the movies and sneak a beer in.
I want to remember being happy from Manhattan to Brooklyn, with water running down my face. I want to step out in the cold with a whole arsenal of remembering-to-be-happy’s when there comes a time I truly can’t help but being sad. I want to shit grin for every moment I can until I can’t anymore.
And most of all, I want this to be more profound and big than those moments I lay turning, gripping my pillow and staring ahead into a room I could not see. I will keep my eyes open until they adjust to the dark and its tiny bits of light.
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