An American Haunting

She haunts your waking moments, your dreams, your nightmares. You wish she was there to soothe them, even though it’s her face you see in your eyes as you are thrown awake by the cold sweat dripping off your face, down your neck, pooling somewhere beneath you. You see her in every woman you pass on the train. Her hair, shining just down the platform; her legs, walking briskly, dancing through the streets; her eyes, behind you in the mirror. Her back, so lovely, in line at the deli. She is the ghost of everything you every wanted in life. She is perfection.

Now if only you could get her, keep her and make her yours. You see her, wearing one of those pretty sundresses, standing at a front door, watching the children play in the yard. You see her cooking, your hands sliding around her waist by way of greeting. You see her pretty, pregnant with your child and glowing. You watch your lives meld together, backward, from growing old to growing close. You watch from the steps of the nursing home, as she is wheeled toward you, arms outstretched. You watch as you sit uncomfortably on a picnic blanket in the middle of that park she loves because you’ve let her rest her head in your lap for a sunny afternoon nap. As you imagine, you hear her laugh, and it brings you back. Instead you see her every now and then, and pray she glances your way. You wish so desperately to hold her, to have her next to you, but instead she’s always too far away. She’s laughing, you know, becuase you’re watching. Her head is thrown back and her eyes are closed, her mouth open in a wide smile.

You hate her for being so damn happy, don’t you?You’ve never said anything, have you?You sit and wait, debating what words should pass through your lips and become sweet music in the air before they hit her hears and astound her. You practice, you have done it a million times, you have the witty banter planned out in your head.But she walks past, her concentration buried somewhere else, and you’ve lost your chance.Now what?

One day it’s too late. Your eyes are gleaming with gentle anticipation, your mind fresh with imagined conversation. You smell good, you know it. You look good, you hope. You match, at least. And as she walks her normal route, suddenly she does not walk alone. Her fingers are twisted with another’s. She’s laughing, having the conversation you wish you’d have started months ago. She’s smiling; her head is thrown back in delight. She sees you, finally, catches your eye, and smiles.

And that’s all you get. Somehow, it’s enough to keep her alive in your mind.

****
Apartment hunting began today. We will be able to get a two bedroom (possibly with utilities included for less than $1000 per month.) I have a friend who lives in Wrigleyville, and he pays $755 for a studio no bigger than my dorm room now. Three friends who live in Andersonville pay $750 per person per month to live in an awesome three bedroom, but we wouldn’t expect anything that nice. Rogers Park is a relatively lower-priced area.
Lord & Taylor is closing on Michigan Ave. I got a velvet dress, and a cotton one for $20 total. (They were 80% off the lowest ticketed price.) And…we bought a giant Armani ad and a Polo ad for $10 each to put in our apartment/dorm/living space next year.

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