stands alone in most walks of life.

I can’t stop rubbing my eyes.

I’m convinced that something is wrong with my contacts. Everything appears foggy and dull. This morning, I coasted through a red light on Ashland, because it seemed green from afar. I struggled with my bike lock because I could barely make out the key. I’m squinting to see the screen on my computer at work. The mirrors in the bathroom reveal my face in fuzzy greyscale.

I’ve tried everything: Visine, opening the blinds near my desk, even borrowing a lamp from the receptionist.

Last night, out for drinks with Cheryl and the boys, I found myself attempting to surreptitiously massage my eyes with the back of hand. Finally Cheryl said, “Jesus, Amanda…do you need some eye drops or something? You’re making me feel itchy.”

I spent the next few hours smiling and laughing at the appropriate points in each conversation…all while sitting on my hands.

Was Andy wearing a blue shirt last night? There’s really no telling. It may have been brown.

I feel as if something precious has been stolen from me. It’s a new sensation, because really, I have never owned anything of real value: records, mildewy old books, thrift store clothes. Second and thirdhand furniture. An aged computer. Lots of half-used art supplies. Nobody wants any of this, except for me. And I could probably walk away from it all if something more exciting beckoned.

I once dreamed about losing a hand. Except, the hand was still there. Or at least, I could still see and feel it. Everyone else tried to convince me otherwise. “You have to accept this loss, Amanda. There have been so many advances in the world of prosthetics.”

I bought ten rings from a woman at the flea market, assuming that my ability to wear these would prove the world wrong. Two per finger. The cubic zirconia, silver, and gold caught the light and burned my corneas. I grabbed a camera, knowing that no one would believe this moment without solid evidence. Just as the shutter opened–at the exact instant–the rings clattered to the floor.

When I woke up, I caressed my face with the aforementioned hand. “I’ll never take you for granted again.”

The phantom limb sleeps in my bed. I woke up almost every hour last night, reaching over for Ryan. Anticipating smooth warm skin, I found only rumpled cold sheets.

For the past week, I have eaten only one meal each day. I have discovered that the mere act of food consumption–lifting the fork, chewing, swallowing–requires a level of energy I do not possess.

I have tried to find refuge in alcohol. One can always count on good old booze for a minor level of memory loss. Instead the dull ache in my chest temporarily intensifies to breathtaking sharp stabbing agony.

I swear I’m not sad about him. Yes, he broke up with me again. But he will probably come back again someday, right? History has proven that. He has sheepishly admitted how deeply I have touched him. I am inches below his skin.

It may be a week.
It could stretch to a month.
Maybe it will be spring again.
If he waits long enough, I will forget him.


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