Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee; most days I’m the one to make the coffee but that didn’t happen; my partner across the hall had set the machine; it came out tasting similar to all those other times I’ve had this cheap, industrial, toddler-pulling-her-pigtails exasperated blend, but it had the added spice of someone else’s work; the coffee tasted like wet sand
There’s a picture of me at 17 wearing someone else’s hat. I’m in a Barnes & Noble. The record section. Before or after the picture, I’ll pick up a record by Battles and fall in love with math rock. And speaking of love, I’ll go back to a dorm room at Governor’s School and play that record so loud I make lifelong friends with a suite-mate, a guy named A. The music only goes off when there’s this girl I like. She comes into our common room and puts on the soundtrack to Moulin Rouge. In the peat-stench of summer evening, she coats my fingers in nail-polish remover then strikes a match and tries to ignite my hand.
Life happens less vividly the more you’re in control over it. That’s why getting older drains you. You have money, a car, a job, autonomy, or at least ten fingers to scrape and claw, you know exactly where the food is and how to find it. You trade out your mysteries. No, it’s not the world that will hurt and surprise you – it’s yourself.
I’ve been building plastic models like a fire might go out. At this point, I’m up to four. I find it relaxing to file down small pieces with my naked hands, and satisfying to hear the snap when pre-ordained parts fit together. Start at nothing, work your way to a familiar image. I’m not the lifelong actor but an architect. If life can’t surprise me, then the least I can do is find the best ways to make it fit.
Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller
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She put on her lace collar. She put on her new hat and he never noticed; and he was happy without her.Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway