I can't remember the last time I was on the 6 train.
But then again, if I'd known it was the last time, maybe I would have paid more attention.
I guess that's true for most things in life.
You recognize your firsts so easily. First job. First apartment. First car. First kiss. [I will ALWAYS remember this moment!!!!]
But lasts. Lasts are tough recognize. Especially if you're super optimistic like me. I never think anything is final.
I read a quote once that said "everything I let go of, has claw marks on it."
Rings way too true. I'm trying to get better with that. Trying to let go easily. Not rush things nor force them. Not holding on to things that clearly aren't meant to be held.
Any first year psych student can probably trace that back to moving around so often in my youth. Losing friends, and beloved toys in the rush and madness of big brown boxes and oceans between continents.
Any second year psych student would bring it back to my dad somehow. The emotional unavailability. The physically unavailability.
But that's so boring and overdone. I refuse to be so basic.
Anyhow, I digress.
Seems they're doing a lot of rebuilding and *gasp* gentrification in the Bronx. It feels somewhat unfamiliar. But, it's also been 16 years since I've been to Parkchester. I've basically lived 6 lifetimes since then. My retinas don't even capture the same light rays.
I remember the first time I rode this train (always remember the first....)
So full of naivety and happiness. My boyfriend made me little index cards, with subway directions to everything I wanted to see. Mostly landmarks of places I'd seen in movies.
F.A.O. SCHWARTZ (6 downtown to 59th st.)
Central Park (6 downtown to 68th/Hunter College)
Chinatown (6 downtown to Canal St. )
*special note that if I ever get lost, every train stops at 42nd St. Times Square. Go there and start over.)
Things I remember about my boyfriend:
Way too much gel. Like, layers and layers of gel in his hair. Like a helmet.
Shaved chest that left weird stubble behind.
Pacing back and forth in the apartment reciting his "sales pitch". He was a stock broker. Wait, strike that. He WANTED to be a stock broker.
In retrospect I realize he was basically one of those dudes in Boiler Room. Cold calling old men to get them to buy penny stocks and such. But, at the time I suppose it was hot.
We went over his lines all night.
He was possessive. He walked me to work each morning. He monitored every phone call I got each night.
He worked out incessantly. Big heavy oppressive weights. The noise kept me up at night. Grunting and steel crashing together.
He called me muñequita
He made me feel very beautiful and loved, and very subservient and low in the same breath.
His sister stole my clothes when she moved out and sold them in the DR.
His mother thought I was too fat.
He always wore black v-necks. I suppose to show off aforementioned shaved chest.
These are the things that remain when you leave someone. Random traces of a person.
How they treat you. How you felt. Random things. Scents. Habits.
So here I am, sweet and innocent and learning how to make the perfect pot of Dominican rice from his momma. Learning how to serve. Planning dinners out while at work. Jogging in central park. Charmed life.
I was so sweet I quite literally used to wear flowers in my hair. Like, some little fucking garden nymph. In the south bronx. Idiot.
One random night, I witnessed a shooting outside of our apartment and instantly got freaked out. There was this little nightclub right across from our window called "The Riddler". Apparently, something happened with someone's girlfriend, and a group of cars drove by and after a few minutes of fist fighting, someone in the car had apparently had enough and got out the car and just shot them. Just, fucking shot them. Like it was nothing.
I was so scared. As much as I tried, I just never really felt comfortable after that. Most of our neighbors spoke very little English. And since I look Spanish, they often yelled at me. Thought I was being snobby by not answering.
It just never felt like home. I never "embraced" the culture around me. I never found the "charm". I was just basically freaked out and ready to go back to Jersey.
So my big strong handsome loving boyfriend, promised to move us out. Promised to take care of me. Promised to protect me.
So this dick stopped paying rent.
The last day in that apartment, NYPD came banging on my door. They told me we were evicted and I had to get out immediately. I ran around frantically trying to pack clothes, jewelry, photos, personal belongings.
I was crying. I called my boyfriend, because I just knew there had to be some kind of a mistake. But he was so calm. So calm. He just kept saying it would be fine. Let them take the stuff to city storage. We'll get everything back later. Relax relax. He's coming soon. I didn't recognize it was the last time I'd see any of that stuff. I didn't didn't realize it was the end of that chapter.
I sat in front of that building waiting for him to get home for about 6 hours, with a box full of random shit and clothes and shoes, and all his fucking suits, packed in trash bags.
I lost the diamond earrings my mother gave me at graduation. I'm sure they were auctioned off somewhere with the rest of the things we never got out of storage.
We ended up living in a nasty youth hostel near grand central for about two months. I think it was about $50 a night. I lied to my mom the whole time and said everything was fine. Called her from phone booths pretending my cell phone was not getting reception. I wonder now if she had any idea.
We ate hot dogs from the street corner guy every night. Or pizza. Dollar slices of pizza.
I don't remember how we washed clothes. I'm assuming we just didn't. I do remember showering down the hall with the other homeless population, mixed with weird Eastern European tourists.
I never left him. I never thought about leaving. Even though I was blamed for putting too much "pressure" on him to move out. It was my fault he HAD to stop paying rent. It was the only way he could get us out there. And that was what I wanted. He did this for us. I felt guilty. And loved. The things he did for us. Us. Us. Us. Us. Just sat next to him on the subway as we went to look at all these different apartments around the city. Not saying a word. Agreeing with whatever he wanted. Letting him lead, as a man should.
We eventually found a mice infested basement apartment in Queens. Waking up each morning to at least 4 dead mice of those little glue pads. Desperately clinging and fighting to stay alive. Realizing that as long as they kept moving they had a chance to be free. Fucking mice were smarter than my complacent, stagnant ass.
My boyfriend putting them into a bag and crushing them with a hammer.
One of those images that would be flashing in the background of a Rob Zombie movie. Sadistic.
These are the memories left behind. These are the scars that keep you up at night.