These Aches

There are lonely moments: cycling past the Fort Lauderdale airport on the west side, where only cabs and parking shuttles traverse. It’s calm going, few traffic lights to make you stop, lose momentum, and have to work your way back up. I like going by the airport. I like going by railroad tracks, thundering freight to far places, I like going by old warehouses, old armories, old storage sites. In the dark, they loom. They loom unlike things of ghost and dark and old. They loom like only industry can, half-sleeping.

And I was a ghost thing myself, trailing through the night, lit and shadowed with sodium arc oranges and airport taxiway blues. I whispered by, a tumble of leaves, a breath of sea wind taking corners wide, legs turning a cadence I could hardly feel, though I carried my heart low in my toes. I work my heartache through my limbs; to heal my sorrows, I walk on coals. My body thinks for me, surrounded by the saddest songs I know: “Et je reste là/ À t’attendre, comme chaque fois/ Toi, tu n’en sais rien/ Tu fais comme si j’étais loin,” sings Coralie Clément, and the jet taxis next to me, just beyond the chain link fence. Above, another roars in and drowns out my music, the air rattling my lungs.

I can only pause and think, “There! I want to be there! On that jet about to fly away!” aching with all I have left. I feel like I haven’t much left, but experience has taught me better. I can suffer long and well. I can ache on and on.

The jet taxis past its blue-lit path, and all I can muster is an empty place for New York or Boston or anywhere but here— here, where I know I’ll still ache. I can pretend I won’t ache in New York. It’s a pleasant thought. I want to be an old lady right now, want live in some obscure corner of Queens, want to walk barefoot in winter to Rockaway Beach holding a quahog shell, clenching my toes around the cold sand and dying in full lotus wondering who will take care of my cat when I’m gone. I want to be ancient and instead live alone in Red Hook, watch the reinvention of industrial decay around me as I slowly fall apart. I want to listen to the floor boards one last time in a particular apartment in Kew Garden Hills, the day before the forsythias decide to riot, and fold liver-spotted hands in my lap, done at last.

Wanting does nothing; I should be done with desire. The jet fires forward and away. It was probably bound for New Mexico. Georgia. DC. And I will probably stay here and ache, and it will be well. Time is marvelous; we perceive it passing. “J’entends les bris de glace/ J’ai perdu la face/ J’ai perdu ta trace.”

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