The fall of summer

The taste of apple, kale and ginger reminds me of the first day of fall, maybe even before that actually, more like the first day in the summer when you knew it was ending.

The memory of summer feels like one long day that turned into one long night. Warm and hazy, I swam through the record breaking heat and humid dust as if in a reverie, half asleep. Staying at home stopped time without the meets and greets and celebrations to mark its passing. But as if from a deeper, Stone Age instinct I processed time with the changing seasons, the lengthening and shortening of days, my mood elevating with the temperatures, the frenzied lust of summer blurring lines and boundaries between people before they cool down and disperse.

I’m not sure I can call it sadness, I’m not sure what feeling it is the moment you sense the height of summer is over. It’s like the point in a playful dream where the plot pivots, maybe a loud conversation or a sense of panic and you wake up to either people talking loudly or having to go to the bathroom. What was it like for me this particular year? Another year gone with summer passing without any particularly life-altering adventure, no profound realization, no feeling like I’ve grasped the infinite, touched an everlasting life force. Yes, my hopes were dashed but also there was a sense of relief from the suffocating heat, relief in more ways than one.

He coloured this summer red. Red burning passion, red in the danger of everything he risked on my name, red in this rage and revenge at the empire he built around me, thinking I was his Helen of Troy and he was an up and coming ingenue hero to be, to be written about for ages. When his fairytale never came to be, he burned this civilization to the ground, hoping the rubbles and burnt cinders would forget that he once believed those monuments would live forever.

How many lovers have I taken in 31 years? Every time I write about one it feels like all of them. Deleuze said we repeat birthdays and important profound soulful artistic things not as blind, dumb repetition, but in such a way that ritual contains all the rituals before it, so that we repeat it to the nth power, as birthdays contain all birthdays before it. I admit I loved you so, and yet a part of it was because you reminded me of someone else, and as he did of someone else, and yet somehow, trying to deflect you this way seems inaccurate.

Looking back I know why you cut so deep, like a thin crack along the side of a wall, that regardless of numerous paint jobs never quite got covered up, that one day cracks deeper. You hurt me straight into my father’s silence.

But Deleuze also said that we don’t repeat because we’re repressed, we repress because we repeat, and we repeat because we don’t know how to be another way. So this summer I tried to be another way. But like this strange long summer that dragged warm days into November, I was perplexed as to why I didn’t change, I stayed in the limbo of that vast uncrossable distance from me and you and the uncertainty of what would happen if I let go, not quite sure if I had let go properly.

There was a lingering presence, like you were watching me, throwing images at my mind. Not quite certain that I had defeated your memory.

The first cold wind shocks you awake and knocks you out of that dream of summer, things don’t float around anymore, come easy anymore. The charm of winter is in its deliberate nature, in its intent, you have to will things or it is not enjoyable. You have to wear warm things and heat the house, things like that. And that’s how I woke up from you, the memory of your emotional abuse that was buried beneath the fear of your backlash and losing my job and friends if I dared whisper it out loud, or to my pillow in the dark.

It was abuse when you pulled me in with your feigned forgiveness, tied me up in lies. It was abuse when I could escape with the help of others and some cleverness on my part, but treacherous nevertheless.

Your abuse was a question I spent the summer trying to answer and I found it so very hard to turn away. I went mad trying to know the truth. Maybe it’s not for me to ask. maybe you should ask yourself why you did this.

Can I stop trying to change now? Maybe that’s the change this year. I like myself here like this, slightly confused, not god-like, not Hercules but not weak either. With messy hair and sometimes tired always hungry rarely quiet longing body, back, eyes, mouth. I like myself here and now, I’ve spent my whole life changing and turning over and over like a multifaceted pebble, changing colours with the tide and whatnot. I’ve been strong like a mountain and strong like a thin reed that never snaps even in a hurricane. I want to be a little bit everlasting, maybe. Maybe I thought asking for the world to stop changing was too much, maybe I wasn’t sure who or where I was.

Where was I? In the dream of a long lost mother, grandmother, I was forgotten under a parent’s grief. Over years I excavated and put together pieces of me like an archeologist reassembling a new language. I found a child, a girl, a woman. Angry and confused too, that’s where I was.

Love is tricky, in order to make the thing stick you gotta cut deep, but not too deep, and we cut each other too deep. In some vague and almost totally imaginary sense there is some understanding of why you did those things, but they add up to less than its parts.

The end of an era feels like, when you lie in bed and listen to yet another breakup song, but this time it’s upbeat. It’s a subtle sign of changes to come.

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