my first big break-up was with bay view. i think my heart broke a little. it probably seems cloying and melodramatic to say that anything but a person can break a heart, but a school broke mine. for months i couldn’t help but wake up aching, nauseous, cold.
bay view was the place where all my memories happened. it was where i grew from a chubby greasy-banged sixth grader with too big shoes and too big hopes and into myself. it’s so easy to get attached to a place without realizing. i’d fallen into snarky thoughts and solos and stress frenzies and afternoon dunkin walks alongside busy highways. in eighth grade we went to madame tussauds and posed with wax figures. in seventh we fell asleep to the sound of a dreary historian waxing ascetic. the lunch ladies knew us all by name and i was just getting used to that.
deep in the caverns of the theatre there lay a sort of never land teeming with frilly costumes and wooden stage walls that ached with sweat and asbestos and magic. for all the skirted rules and study halls and spring days spent lounging in rich, new grass i thanked bay view. even when its guileless lifebending rigidity drove me crazy, i loved it.
it was the kind of love you hold on to for somebody you’ve thrown up on and screamed at and cried with and been at once agitated and consoled by. the love you have for something you must begrudgingly admit is, even on its darkest days, a little bit magic. it had been the place where all my memories happened —and then it was gone. i was pulled out before tenth grade and suddenly i wasn’t welcome anymore. no more running barefoot through wood hallways, laughing, aching, exhausted. no more complaining about bay view. poof.
for weeks i slept with my kilt under my pillow. does this sound like something i’m making up? it’s not. it was the only thing that helped me sleep those first few days in public school — its coarse, familiar fabric.
i can always go visit but we’re estranged now, and i get snappy when i realize that i’ve missed it so much more than it’s missed me. or if it does miss me at all, it doesn’t show it. buildings never speak in hallways or windows. they don’t attempt to explain.
you were the second time my heart broke. you, the person. all the nice things about you turned sharp as thorns. your smell and the way you said “are you ok?” your corridors and windows closed off to me alone. like bay view you don’t seem to possess the words to explain why we lost each other in the end, from the first hiccup in the fabric to the sleeping-with-a-skirt-under-your-pillow phase. there was no formalized goodbye, only sleeplessness and that feeling you get, like panic and forgetting your lines.
i’ve learned from bay view that eventually it gets to hurting less. someday it boils to the slightest sensation that something’s off, and after that i’ve been told, it disappears. perhaps this is adulthood: the learning to cope with absences. living in absentia. we’ll be distanced and the heart will rev up again like the engine of a car that burned out in a snow storm. then there will be no desire to wander aimless through your auditoriums by moonlight, or to climb up on your stage and sing to test out your acoustics. i won’t remember your cold palms. the letters won’t bounce off your mouth in secret. there will come a day.
for now, my two lost loves, i am angrier and aliver than i’ve ever been, and i’ve spent a long time trying to figure out how this could be.
i need this, i think. i need to wake up tomorrow and go to a new school and learn to kindle an altogether new love for its inhabitants. i need to be strong, i think, for breakups past and future. my own and everyone else’s. for any person who has ever lost somebody crucial and beloved i’ll make tomorrow work. it’s hardly heroic. i’m a whiny, staunchly dramatic sixteen year old with adjustment issues and there are people in my town with no food to eat. but this type of strength is necessary to nearly everyone — the body forgives its bruises and moves on. i need to stop rambling. so, wish me luck.