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30 September 2018 @ 12:41 am
the gaps are enormous  
orpheus buries his life in his mother’s backyard. he identifies and accumulates boxes, in his mother’s basement, in friend’s basements and at thrift stores, metal and latching, sometimes with handles; water-tight, at least in theory. he finds and acquires six boxes, sometimes by way of theft, stacking them up on his closet floor.

he works late at night. late at night he puts on records, at first, until he understands that he can no longer listen to any of the records he finds meaningful because if it meant anything to him he most certainly listened to it while thinking about eurydice if not actually with her. after that, he tries the radio, but that proves to be uncomfortable in another way: it reminds him of how that first year, when his brother still lived in the next room and their mother still bothered to voice opinions on the matter of late night phone conversations with girls, how that first year orpheus would mask his after-curfew phone calls with eurydice by tuning an old transistor to WXRT and pressing the speaker to the wall he shared with seth so it drowned out any other noise in the room. the songs had changed and so had several of the announcers, but the simple fact made him uncomfortable: another burial, this time of hushed voices. that is what the radio means to him right now, only this, nothing more.

orpheus understands he can can no longer listen to records at night.

orpheus understands he can no longer listen to the radio at night.

orpheus stops short of understanding he can, therefore, no longer listen to music, at least not at night and therefore not at any other time, but only just. the cliff before him drops out under his toes. the ground beneath his feet holds, but only just. pebbles rain down under his tenuous gravity. orpheus stares down into the abyss, consciously deciding he will not acknowledge he is staring into an abyss. instead, he busies himself with his summer project: burying his life in his mother’s backyard.

so late at night after he has stopped trying to listen to records and stopped trying to listen to the radio, he works in silence. he brings out two boxes from the closet and opens a drawer. first, the desk. anything related to eurydice in one box. anything related to what ruined things with eurydice in another box. anything necessary for getting out of his mother’s house as soon as academically reasonable stays. unless it had something to do with eurydice. then it might go into a box regardless, because that was the true motive of this project: getting rid of anything related to eurydice without really getting rid of it. doing something about his problem without really doing anything.

anyway, he’d been needing to scale back. he hadn’t cleaned out drawers since that last ritual burial of orpheus vogel halfway into middle school. that had been one box and he’d buried it on his uncle’s property; he'd lost reasonable access to that box after his uncle had died two years later. he didn’t regret. the box had been filled with he-man figures, lego pirates, garbage patch kids, rubber insects, a scrunchie pilfered from a girl he liked, and the most expendable of his secret sash of supernatural romances. that burial had been empowering. rejuvenating. a putting away of childish things. he came away from it not feeling like a man, exactly, but like he was on the path to becoming a man. this burial does not feel anything like it, but he won’t let himself think very hard about that. all he will let himself think about it so far remains: this will feel better when it is over.

so into one box: all the mix tapes. a notebook he snatches from the drawer and shoves into the box, looking at it as little as possible. a small pouch she gave him, asking that he never looked inside. the blindfold. a package of rose incense, a recording of her heartbeat. the ring. storytelling rocks, all three: chicago summer 1990, door county july 1991, hanover park 1989. this will feel better when it is over, he reminds himself.

into the other: anything related to the band. anything from his brother. that tuning fork. the horrible “lucky” rabbit’s foot that he’d missed for the first culling. the other notebook, the one she gave him right after school ended. all the things he’d stolen from her room. all the things he’d stolen, no matter from who or for what purpose. he wonders if he’ll have to get more boxes.

finally he can no longer stall on the dresser, or rather: finally he can no longer stall on the third dresser drawer. eurydice’s shirt, the one she traded for his so they would each have something with the other’s scent. entwined with that, where he’d shoved them the day eurydice took culpability for their breakup by being the one who hung up on him, no matter if the reason she hung up was because another woman answered orpheus’s phone and burst out laughing at eurydice’s stunned silence. that didn’t matter. that was eurydice’s assumption, that it meant something, that another woman answered the phone only orpheus had ever answered before. it wasn’t like even eurydice could hear nudity through the telephone.

entwined with eurydice’s turquoise jersey shirt with the inexplicable pocket torn away was the damn joy division shirt. the first band shirt he’d bought with his own money, and that wasn't even the half of it. arguably the most important item of clothing in his possession, excepting the pocket-torn turquoise jersey shirt it embraced. not thinking about it, he removes the shirts, untangles them and folds them neatly. not thinking about it, he stacks them between the two boxes on either side of his bed. he tries to decide. the debate drags on. he thinks about throwing them both in the trash. instead, he leaves the room. he goes downstairs. drinking a glass of water, he looks out over the backyard, scouting his options for his next plot. four boxes buried. two more remaining. this will feel better when it is over, he reminds himself, and then wonders what, exactly, he means by that.

the cliff before him drops out under his toes. the ground beneath his feet holds, but only just.

mood: poor kid
music: pteranodon - the sunless sea