I dreamed I was cleaning out the house of someone who had recently died and had accumulated a huge number of possessions.
Organizing still seems to be a lot on my mind.
I have a hundred odds and ends of memories floating around.
Sometimes, I wonder what happened to my blood-soaked clothes after Natalya. I wore them into the shower. Then what happened? I had clothes in Natalya’s room. It’s not that there was nothing else to wear, but it always seemed to be important not to mix worlds. The clothes I had there never came back to my house. And I remember what I wore that day. I remember wearing those clothes again. I remember, in other words, they were not destroyed or left behind or hopelessly stained.
There was a Laundromat. I took a shower and then I took my clothes to the Laundromat and I washed and dried my clothes and changed again before going home. And this was part of why, riding home in the car with my dad afterward, the sun was rising and it was six in the morning the next day.
I am horrified by this. I watched my lover murdered and then washed the clothes she bled all over. The worst bit of it for me then was that her blood was in an important way our last contact. The blood was evidence of that contact and of her existence. I didn’t want to wash that blood away. I watched it in the shower streaming toward the drain and I didn’t want it to go. But it’s also the mundaneness of what was still necessary for me to do even after such trauma that horrifies me. She died and I had laundry to do. It pisses me off.
Which brings me to clothes.
Natalya had a tan coat that figures into a lot of my youngish memories. It was soft and warm and heavy and I ended up wearing it a lot of the time because it was always freezing and I was always dressed in next to nothing. But it was about twice my size, so it was more of a blanket than a piece of clothing for me.
Sometimes, she was wearing it and she fold me into her arms inside the coat and other times she draped it over me. It was this enormously comforting thing that she did, to wrap me up in her coat.
Anyway, I was there when she bought the coat. It was fourteen dollars, which I think was a huge sum of money in those days. It was big for her when she bought it, and she wore it until it was too small.
There was a second-hand shop, and this seemed to be a major part of our emotional and geographic landscape. There was the drug store with the ice cream counter and the park where we played on the swings and later made out (which may have been a school playground) and there was the second-hand shop where Nata bought our clothes.
It contrasts with my experience with money, because I never felt money was my own. I collected it from the johns and then gave it to someone else who counted it carefully and occasionally I had birthday money or allowance money, but I almost never spent that. Nata spent money. Nata bought ice cream and snacks and burritos at the taco stand she bought clothes. She bought her own clothes and she bought my clothes. I don’t really know where the money came from. Sometimes johns who imagine they like you as a human being give you gifts or maybe Yuri was generous sometimes or maybe Natalya just skimmed some off the top sometimes. But anyway if she had money, she thought of it as hers, and she felt totally free to spend it.
There was a while in the winter when someone was really distraught that my life now means I have to buy snacks alone and I have to buy clothes for myself without getting her opinion, and this suddenly makes sense. My mind is at times completely literal. Those were things we did together that were not horrifying, awful things that I wish I didn’t need to remember. We bought junk food and we bought clothes, and those things were fun. And doing them now reminds me that she is dead. So I don’t like to do them now. In fact, I hate them. I thought I hated them for other reasons—clothes are certainly fraught from being a 2×2—but it’s because I miss her. Terribly.