We are at Edgefield in August. I'm wearing that yellow dress I bought when I was alone in Madrid for a day. We're listening to The Decemberists cover a Fleetwood Mac song. I could die happy, right now.
I'm glad I didn't. But I could have. There's a picture of the three of us and now we're scattered around the world and I miss you both so much every day.
I bought that yellow dress during the summer rebajas while Samantha was stuck on a ferry in Strait of Gibraltar and I was tired of feeling ugly in my thick travel sandals, of being sweaty in the same skirts I'd worn all summer in Morocco. Every tile and flag and wrought-iron rod was regal and formidable, every woman with a feline mane and a sexy lisp and I with my backpack, those terrible sandals.
A yellow dress with a woven rainbow belt, a red sweatshirt dress with an opossum pouch, a yellow tank top made of less fabric than some underwear. I'm too old to wear any of them anymore, but I keep them and their tiny holes-at-seams in my closet here, in Austin. When I see pictures of myself wearing them from that summer - my tan back, exposed in that tank top waiting at an ATM, posing in that yellow dress all over Paris, hands happily stuffed in the front pocket of the red dress in Sorrento drunk on limoncello and white wine- I feel so centered, so sure of myself. I feel that way listening to The Decemberists. I miss that print I bought in New York at The Decemberists show I went to by myself at the Beacon Theatre. I spent money I hardly had on getting it matted and framed so that it would feel at home in my tiny morning-sun facing Upper East Side bedroom, so that I'd feel like an adult having some framed art when I stumbled home alone night after night at 4 AM with dollar pizza slice grease on my fingers. The print is of a doe wearing a dress and it specifies the date and location of the concert, commemorating my date with myself.
It's wrapped in brown paper waiting for me in Buffalo.
The days I don't feel like myself I want to gather all these things up in a pile on top of my body and lie under it and draw the past out of them into me.