Flushing (Memories Down the Toilette) Avenue

Yeah, I still think about it. Even now. I’m still visited by combination dreams and nightmares about it. In my latest vision of you, we’re back in our old apartment, that shithole on the corner near the projects that you conceded to living in because desperate times called for desperate measures. It’s you, but it’s not you–you know how it is in dreams sometimes, when you can sense who a person is without him taking his actual physical form. I think the fact that you look different is a testament to how you’ve probably changed since I was the person who knew you most intimately.

We’re in our bed, which is no longer on the frame that I bought for the mattress (even though you had protested that this was a waste of money). Instead it’s on the floor, drug dealer-style, as they say, and I’m looking over at you reading something pompous, but I can’t quite see the title in my mind’s eye.

As I’m lovingly gazing at you, you turn to me and say, “I want to move out December 1st.”

This takes me by surprise as I know that there are still three months left on our lease and that this would greatly leave me in the lurch. But I calmly return, “Why?”

“I don’t want to stay here anymore. With you.”

“I thought we were going to be together for a long time,” I protest.

You chortle, “We’ve gotten everything we can from each other. I’m done.”

This is when I can feel the pangs of my dream self within my actual self. Still, I find the courage to ask, “Don’t you love me anymore?”

“No.” You are unmoved by my pained face. “There, is that what you wanted to hear? It’s the truth. We’ve reached our expiration date.”

I panic, thinking about how I’ll probably have to leave New York because I’ll never have enough money for a deposit somewhere else or be able to afford our now formerly shared apartment on my own. And I know this isn’t the thought that should be plaguing me most of all right now, but it temporarily soothes the agony of your declaration that it’s over. It is at this moment, that a slew of revelers–all somehow friends of yours–appear. Enraged, I yell at each and every one of them, shaking the mattress to get people off of it, throwing glasses and screaming at this one particularly rotund blonde girl that she better get the fuck out of my house. And soon, you, too leave with the partygoers. And there I am, shaking from the after shocks of my anger, alone on Flushing Avenue.

I wake up and I’m no longer there, back in that apartment that I frequently have to pass by because this city is one perpetual haunting. It looks lighter now on the outside, even though someone has recently graffitied “Even Jesus Drank” on the front door. And I wonder if that lightness stems from our expulsion from the building, the dark pall of our Richard Yates relationship cast out like so many demons.

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