I was making my nest: a studio apartment at the base of Pill Hill in Seattle, basement floor. It looked onto a courtyard no one could access, and the top half of a parking lot.
My bed was up on a frame my hippy friend Myki built. We put it high to fit stuff underneath, and to keep my cat Pokey from jumping on it. Pokey had chronic urinary tract problems, which he communicated by peeing blood on my bed. Not good for nest-building.
I smoked cigars with the windows closed and drank Dutch Gin on Sundays, glazed-over and waiting for what would come next, the time when I would no longer be alone.
She let me know after a couple weeks she already had a boyfriend, and that it was okay, because he knew we were out together and didn’t really care.
I was looking after a friend’s apartment over Christmas and we made plans to play Scrabble, there. I had the last tile, and used it to spell “us.” I gave her a look, and saw her to the door.
Afterwards, I sat in the apartment looking at the chair where she hung her jacket, feeling like a jerk for all my sentiment, for wanting to cry and write a poem about the stupid chair, how inanimate things like furniture can carry and emit energy. My writing got worse as my drinking got better.
I woke up Christmas morning face-down in the studio apartment with my glasses still on, crooked now, with a small cut from the nose pads. We were about to start 1999, another end to the world imminent, and I had just agreed to climb Mount Rainier. Anything, for a change.