The First Heartbreak

Nov. 28, 2011
Lives in St. Paul, MN. Writer of fiction and a founding editor of Revolver, a new arts and culture magazine out of ...

You stare at the chat window. It is white on white on white — oblivion’s vanishing point — this contemporary art piece. You can walk by or be kicked out by the guards for vagrancy. You are staying too long. Before: her sparse yeahs and okays accented with periods (always with periods, you notice) occasionally garnished with a colon and parenthesis, backslash. This is all so meager; she’s not giving you much because she cannot, she is not able. Wait for the is typing that never comes. Insert religio-jurisprudence metaphors: purgatory, final judgment, the jury she’s sleeping, not in session.

Try again tomorrow.

Today the sky is an unfinished quilt. Everything doesn’t fit; you’re walking around in a fitting room. You try to ignore the pins embedded in the carpet. Except: a couple gets out of their respective cars in the coffee shop parking lot. She embraces him. No, wait—kisses him, jumps, straddles him like she did on those old department store rides powered by coins—and this is the most beautiful thing you have seen in a while. You cry. You’re not used to the non-control. You turn your back not to be that sad guy. Wipe off your face, your coworker is driving you home, you don’t want to hear what’s wrong. But you want everyone to ask.

Send text messages to the great silence.

This emotional earthquake (you’ve never been in a real one, but the human body was designed for neither, you gather) that evening on the three-season porch shakes off your glasses, everything five-year-old-with-a-camera when you try and see. A shred of you wants to shake like this forever, like a sacred flame in a temple that floats only on water. In between the cry/gasp binary it’s cigarette like a snorkel: this will give me air. Zippo clicks like multiple smokers outside a bar, but no, still you and there is one in your hand one in your mouth, nevermind; it’s all early grade school math in the child-like now. The sobs administer novocaine to your nether regions, libido paused like a download. For a second you think you can’t feel anything below your eyes.

Everything now a scratched cornea.

It’s so new, a big deal, and you feel the clichés flowing through you like a human minted virus: you are so unique and alone, that no one gets you. Good news! — your heart is not a Stoic existential roadblock, you can feel like everyone else. You are nothing new. Using these ears of sadness and perception, you may finally decipher the words of For Emma, Forever Ago. You want to retreat to a cabin and embrace celibacy, become a monk in the cloister of your unkempt ego. You want to think there is no one else. You want to think that no one has ever thought this before, but you think about how everyone thinks that, even now. Well. You know how insignificant this really is; you know how catastrophic this really is.

You are no cartographer. TC mark

image – Helga Weber
Alexander Helmke

Alexander Helmke

Lives in St. Paul, MN. Writer of fiction and a founding editor of Revolver, a new arts and culture magazine out of …

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