I lived as though life didn’t accumulate. Now that I turn sideways to get my baggage through the door, I see that I was wrong.
I told myself it wasn’t self destruction and I believed it. It was easy love. Kisses in an alley. Poems on bar napkins. Lines. Throwing up blood.
Nights like those don’t just stay with you, they grow with you and through you, like a tree in a building. Yes, pretty when the outside is inside but also gutting the home and killing the tree.
You want to know what exactly. What brings me here to your office. What part of the past do I want to erase.
It’s like your commercial says: get the peace you deserve. There’s a man of mediocre looks in bed with wide eyes like he’s never slept a second in his life and clones pulling at his limbs, whispering in his ear, one crying on the floor, one hooded and popping his knuckles. Then this black box device hovers onto the scene and reaches out for the man’s temples, and maybe the device is poking him with a needle or inserting a chip, you can’t really tell, but it looks like the device is laying healing hands on him the way TV evangelicals do. Then the clones gather themselves back into the man who is suddenly one degree more attractive and smiling The Smile of Perfect Peace, which is all it takes to give him a new, sexy but unnameable spark.
What parts to erase. That’s not easy to answer. Is there a form for this? Some boxes I can check?
Fists swinging (mine and theirs)
Crying in front of people
Wallowing in self pity like it was a sport
My mother (the loud parts)
My dad (the silent parts)
I want you to reach into my head with a spoon and take out the pulp. For example, there was the night spent with my best friend’s husband when I was already in love with someone (don’t erase that someone) and I said it was because I was drunk (even to myself (especially to myself)) but I know that it was worse than that. I needed something from him. Something sick to heal my sickness. Don’t make me explain that, just write it down and take it out. Take out that and every other time I wanted one thing and yet did another.
Yes, I have questions. What will be left?
Okay. Will that someone be?
Okay. But will that be enough?
Yes, no promises. Will it hurt?
Isabelle Correa’s writing can be found in Third Point Press, Trampset, Maudlin House, and Kanstellation, and is forthcoming in Drunk Monkeys and Pank. She’s from Washington on the east side of The Cascades and lives and teaches in Vietnam. Follow her on Twitter @IsabelleJCorrea.