I tried telling myself lies about her:
She’s an idiot.
She’s not that beautiful.
The charms of her smiles, her thoughts, and her scents have no effect on me.
But every lie was so foul that it made me sick to pretend they were true.
I tried imagining parallel realities where we never met, or where we met under different conditions, ones that made us immediate incompatibility.
I tried to push thoughts of her out of my mind, but even that involved thinking about her, and once that starts, I’m lost.
So I came to the most remote place I know to strangle the life out of my love for Christina and give it a proper burial.
I felt from the start that we were on a timer. The weight of my feelings for her, compared to the weight of hers for me, made us too lopsided a couple to stand together very long without tipping over. When we came to the inevitable crash-and-burn part of our relationship I had to get away from everything – not just Christina but every habit and object in and about my life – to find canyons of silence and emptiness where the enormous resolution I need has enough room to move around and to find me. If it can find me anywhere, it will be in this most sacred space: halfway up a mountain, in my Uncle Bob’s cabin in the Catskills.
Uncle Bob is an old vinyl guy and the depth of his record collection fascinated me even when I was a boy. I pick out a disc at random and put it on the turntable, then I grab a beer and start a fire. I don’t look at the album cover so I don’t know which one I picked until I hear the gravelly voice of Louis Armstrong hitting the nail a little too sharply on the head, singing:
In my solitude
You haunt me
With reveries of days gone by
In my solitude
You taunt me
With memories that never die