in a dream you saw a way to survive

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It’s in the title track, the last chapter, the half-sung praise for everyone that follows.

The coffee he made and left on my nightstand on a Sunday morning spoiled by the fact that he’d done the same for her just weeks prior. The late night argument over which Kanye album was the last good Kanye album. That afternoon his stupidly precious Alexa refused to play his favorite song unless he asked her in an accent, and how I laughed so hard I thought I might have cracked my freshly-healed ribs. That December evening, how I must have already known.

Afterwards, he said he saw me in a dream.

I thought of that Jenny Holzer quote and that late night at the Tate Modern, and I wanted to cry.  

I’d packed the dress for Paris, the first time, and even tried it on at one point -but could never bring myself to do it. It was too tight, I told myself, and I’d had a lot of croissants.

And the thing is -there’s a lot of baggage that comes with that sentence. Most of it is shitty and all of it is dangerous, but sometimes all it asks for is to be left alone long enough to disappear of its own volition.

So I let it.

I let the thought come and go as it needed, toxic and terrifying as it might be, because it felt better than admitting it’d be a long time before I could wear that dress without thinking of him. I’d rather blame the croissants, any day.

It took two months and three planes out of the country for it to click.

But it did, eventually. 

There was a different man, on a different evening, who looked at me the way some people do on a cold spring evening in a city that’s inspired more poems than my granddad could recite by memory -and my granddad can recite a lot of poems. He wore familiar glasses and a loopy smile, and made the kind of jokes that I was desperate for. Kind. Clever. Light.

Light, light, light.

That’s what I resolved for, that evening in Paris. More jokes, more croissants. Less pressure, less guilt.

One more hand at the game.  More chances for it to spin the right way.

 

I still maintain that Pablo was Kanye’s last good album.

I went back to the Jenny Holzer exhibit all by myself.

I wore the fucking dress, and I didn’t crack once.