Monique

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She has really done something to me, & I dont really care about seeing the rest of Europe if it isnt w/ her.

This is what I thought over the course of the night that I took the bus to Marseille, away from her.

It was the morning, the time when she would be at the airport in Paris, & I used the buses shit wifi for as long as it held out just to make sure that Paris International hadnt been blown up, like ISIS had threatened.

She told me that all she could think about was being in Danville, in Abbeys kitchen, making soup, & now all I could think about was her being there as well. Danville, out in the sticks, felt like it was a universe away from the horrors of this world, though I knew better, but I just kept thinking, just get to that kitchen..I just needed her to do that & then I could move on..

When the bus arrived in Marseille, the sun was shining, & I knew that if I did not write this down, then I would not remember it; truly, who remembers if the sun was shining the day after a tragedy?

From the bus station in Marseille, I passed people who asked me if I wanted to buy weed, hashish until I found the metro, & as I was waiting there, on the platform, I thought I saw her in my peripheral, as I had so many times before, & I turned quickly & she wasnt there & my eyes began to water, as they had so many times in the last 24 hours, & I could feel my face getting red, & this time hit me the hardest, for some reason, & I didnt want to look at anyone else there on the platform because I didnt want to know if they were looking at me or not, & I think it hit me the hardest because I totally forgot that she was gone, for that moment, & so totally believed that she was standing right beside me, but there was nothing to do except to ball up my fists & plunge my knuckles into my eye sockets to dry them, & then to get on the train when it rolled into the station.

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The night before, I had joked to her that I would have to start drinking for two now, but perhaps it was not such a joke, & walking to the hostel I had booked, I thought about buying a handle of rum, drinking like I did back in college, or at least like I had during my freshman year of college, but then what would that fix? Nothing. It may have only proved to put me in a worse position than I was already in, if I were to go out & do something stupid.

& so I simply planned to check into the hostel & to take a shower there & sit in the shower stall & bawl.

I wrote previously that earlier in my life, before I visited the Bataclan Café, that crying never had made sense to me. & that was true.

Before, crying never made sense; now, nothing else did.

On the walk to the hostel in Marseille, crying was the only thing that made sense.

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So, of course when I got to the hostel, it was much too early in the morning to check in, to take that shower & cry. But, as I waited there, this guy came by & said that everybody should avoid going down near the post office, that there was some type of security threat there, or something.

So, naturally, I go down to the post office to get my mind off of things, off of her. & there are police officers & ambulances & firefighters & a big crowd of people standing around, & it doesnt look like whatever is happening or has happened at the post office happens a lot in Marseille, but I cant say for sure..

People take photos & this one police officer preps one of those robots that they use to defuse bombs & things & I think about the police sirens chasing us around Brussels & all the heartache felt in Paris & all the terrible stories being brought up in the news & the warnings about travel & all that & I begin to wonder if this type of shit is going to chase me for the rest of my time in Europe.

But then, I notice that the officer is not prepping the robot, but packing it back into the truck & one by one the firetruck & ambulance & police cars pull away, & the police officers get on their bikes or walk off & the crowd of people dissipates, & Im left standing there, looking around, watching life go on like nothing happened at all.

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I walked a few streets in Marseille, to kill time before I could check in, & somehow, somehow, its not so hard to think of how, somehow I got caught up in wondering what her & I would be doing at that time, if it were the both of us in Marseille, & I figured that we would probably be looking for somewhere where she could use the bathroom, & then that would turn into where we would get lunch & maybe people watch from a table outside. & so, somehow, I ended up sitting on a curb, around the block from the post office, not far from the marina, the smell of fish, salt water, sea in the air, w/ a crushed Red Bull can in front of me & people walking past me, some staring.

& as I sat there, I did make an effort to not think of her, I honestly did, & I hope if you have been reading me for a while then you can trust me, I did try to not think of her, but it was no use, & all I could think about was missing her, & so I felt that I would indulge..

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I will miss the sound that she makes when she sees Christmas lights & ornamentation.

I will miss the early days of traveling w/ her, before she dyed her hair, when her hair was light & I would notice that she left it all over the place.

I will miss the goofy way that she would dance sometimes; all shoulders & knees.

I will miss that moment when the mushrooms really kicked in for her in Amsterdam; I dont think Ive ever seen anyone fold under the stress of eating a slice of pizza like that before..

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I will miss the way that she tried to haggle w/ the shop owner in Cologne; two for five?

Ill miss the symphony that was her snoring at night.

The way she would order a shot of Jameson w/ a beer.

Miss watching her draw & writing about her drawing & watching the people who walked past her who would watch her draw & writing about them as well.

I wont miss how she would pick at her nails, the skin around her nails, but then I know I will.

I will miss how she could tell me the history behind various architecture at the Acropolis.

I will miss picking hairs, fuzz off of her clothes.

Ill miss how messy she can be when she eats, & how we did a ‘ketchup check’ that one time.

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The way she needs so much coffee to get through the day & how it tears me up to see her so reliant on something.

The faces she makes; she has a whole catalog, & could run a photobooth out of film w/ them all.

How she hit her head on the seat in front of her when the Megabus driver went hard on the brakes.

How she would wear all black, most of the time, because it hid sweat & she would ‘run hot.’

The way she could be around cats & dogs.

The way she looked in winter hats.

The way that Europe was all shit; good shit, bad shit, cool shit, old shit; it was all shit to us.

The way she can sleep face down through the night & not suffocate, & wakeup w/ her makeup still all perfect. But then there was her face w/o makeup, w/o anything..the face w/ makeup on, that was everyone elses face, the face everyone else got to see..but the face w/o makeup, the face she sometimes took to bed & woke up w/, the face when we were just chilling in the morning, that face sometimes felt like it was the face that only I would see. But was it mine? No. She could never be mine or anyones, in any way. No one will ever be able to call her theirs. You could spend every waking moment together & every night beside each other & she would be no more yours than a stranger on the other side of the world is. She is not to be possessed, not yours, not mine, she is to be watched, she is to be experienced, she is to be.

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& I will miss the way that shes slightly taller than me & how I would sit up as straight as I could when I was beside her.

& I will miss whatever the reason was that I tried to always finish my drink faster than her.

& how she would sing in the shower.

& how she got me into all this modern music like Big Sean & that Doses & Mimosas song.

& the times when she would roll over in the morning, look at her phone, groan & throw the covers back over her head, & Id laugh & then she would laugh. It was such a regular thing for us.

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Miss the times when she got bed bug bites.

When she broke that hosts mirror.

When she flooded that hosts bathroom.

All those times she realized she forgot her towel after she had taken a shower.

Miss when she asked me if I got any writing done, one day, & I said, I thought about it & then I just didnt do it, & she joked, cut me down, told me, thats what all the greats said; & that felt like some real serious & true shit when we stopped laughing & I thought about it.

Miss guys, anyone staring at her, wherever we were, wherever we went; but I stared at her a lot as a child, so I get it.

& her eyes. Those eyes are the same as when I first looked into them as a crushed child.

How giggly she gets when shes tired.

How I consider myself to be some adventurer, & yet how she was the reason that I was out of my comfort zone so often.

The freckles on her eyelids; I dont even know if she knows she has them..

Pointing out the smallest dogs in Europe.

Did you see that bucket of water in the bathroom? Yeah, its called a toilet..

Her snowboarding jacket that stood out in every crowd we were ever in.

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How she thought I was a bad liar.

All of our inside jokes; Hey Donna & Aldi back; Bitch, its called Hotline Bling; that mashup video of Donald Trump saying China.

When we were walking in Paris & I told her I was hungry for Chinese chicken fingers & forgot that I did this & moments later she saw a Chinese place & told me I could get chicken fingers there & I looked at her & asked her if I had told her that I wanted chicken fingers & she said, no, & I had to really think about whether I had told her that I wanted them in the first place or not, because I would have believed, & did believe, that she simply read my mind.

She got caught up in a passing tour group in Krakow &, at the same exact moment, we reached out to each other & yelled out, SIMBA!!..because, yknow, thats what happens in the Lion King.

She is my opposite, I know this now, & yet we were on the same page so often, thinking the same thing so often that it got scary; I have never had anyone so in my mind before. I believe in a type of equilibrium in this world, & that one person has to be doing one thing, be one person so that another person can do & be something else. In so many ways, she is my opposite & I exist because she does, & vice versa. In so many ways, we both live lives that the other cannot..

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She made me feel good, though sometimes like an ember in the rain.

& of course I will miss the way that she radiated body heat, & how my cheeks would get warm when I would stand so near to her.

& I look forward to meeting up again & having that movie night where we watch Predator & Road to Eldorado & Super Troopers & make hot wine & eat nachos.

But, for now, I miss when she told that Russian girl that shoe sizes in the United States came in small, medium & large.

Miss the way she would get quiet & walk faster always because of one, or all, of 3 reasons; she was tired, her feet hurt or she had to pee.

Miss that terrible joke she made in Krakow about ‘pole’ dancing being invented in Poland.

Miss when our host in Krakow spelled out his name & asked her how she would pronounce that; somehow JARO turned in YOGI.

& sitting on that bench in Amsterdam, watching the people through the uncurtained windows of the apartments across the canal, she drank from a bottle of wine & I smoked cigarettes & we talked about life & shit.

& Ma P-Hone.

& Ill be plagued by whether she trusted me or not; in the sense as to whether she didnt tell me certain things because she thought I would write about them. I see no reason for secrets though; the story of everything you have been through & everything you will ever go through can help someone out there. So, perhaps I can be trusted, but just not w/ secrets if one is trying to hide them..

Miss how she looked dancing alone at that club in Bodo.

The way she looked dancing beside me at that bar in Bratislava.

The way she looked on that first metro we took in Paris.

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The way her face would glow when it met her phones backlight in a shadowed room.

The way her face would glow.

In our, my time in Europe, I feel as if I have been writing about her like she was a figment of my imagination; but no, she is so, so real & so, so beautiful. She is beautiful, but not only through looking at her; I mean, yes, she is beautiful in that way, her eyes, but to know her is beautiful as well; she is beautiful to know. & I know now that it is not about seeing someones flaws as beautiful; its about realizing they are flawed & teaching yourself the discipline to deal w/ it & the discipline to love them; & I know now what it is to love a friend true.

&, yknow, its funny; I planned to write this piece long before I even knew that she was leaving..

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