i’m not back

but i have something to post.

two years

two years ago today i drove from columbus to nashville, smoking my last cigarettes the whole way. on the 8th i started in buffalo, but i broke down just south of columbus. that night i had a root beer float for dinner and checked into a smoking room at the best western. i walked to the bp across the street and bought a pack of camel lights. then i rolled up my jeans and walked down to the pool. as i let my feet turn pruny, i thought about my car down at the garage/bait and tackle shop. my computer monitor was in the front seat, and everything else i could fit into a 1997 mercury tracer was crammed anywhere it would fit.

i went back to my room and chain-smoked and drank grape soda all night. i knew i was smoking my last. i knew i would change forever when i came to nashville. i could hear the page turning.

the morning of the 9th, i woke up and walked across the street to bob evans. i pushed eggs and pancakes around my plate, and devoured bacon and coffee. and coffee. and coffee. and then i got a cup of coffee to go and walked to the bait and tackle shop to pick up my new alternator. i got to know the cat while i waited for my credit card to go through, and i read every word on the racks of fishing lures to keep from talking to the proprietor.

it took me about 6 hours to get to nashville. i pulled in and katie’s sister amanda helped me move my things from the car to my room. my room was light wood and white sheets and a pastel quilt. a window overlooking a little gully. loud birds. loud bass in the apartment below. loud, early-rising, elephant-footed children in the apartment above.

i cried a lot when i first came here. i cried in my car, i cried in church, i cried when i talked to katie, i cried when i did the dishes, i cried when i looked in the mirror. i was changing.

two years later, and i don’t even know that girl.

i remember sitting down with all of my poems and stories and essays and watercolor paintings and charcoal drawings in that first apartment with katie and amanda and not knowing what to do. i couldn’t paint. i couldn’t write. nothing came. i was raw and terrified. i pulled out my three-inch stack of printouts and rip-outs and blue marker poems written to my old neighbor and i read. i read myself over and over again and i wanted me back. i thought i wouldn’t ever create things again. i thought i was looking at the best of my life, and i had a bland future in store.

i had no idea.


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