The Capitalization of Sentiment (7 minutes in heaven isn’t 7 years for a reason)

by Charlotte E. Wilde

If I’m perfectly honest, which I both always and rarely am, I like the presence-to-myself caused by emptiness, by longing. I like the way my hands feel on my stomach when I don’t know they’re mine. I like how I look in the mirror each morning when I’m trying to remember who I was yesterday or where that person disappeared to in the night. I like the way songs sound best when I didn’t write them and how my words taste when I forget them for a time.

I’m a firm believer that proximity wilts sentiment, as though once we wrap our hands around it, call it by name, expect it and understand it, we find ourselves going belly-up, bloated with hows-your-day banality. The only option, perhaps, is to keep re-inventing history, looking for the feeling I had before that kitchen table where I first sat and wrote us down.

Every edit is a new perspective, every blank page a possibility. Every erasure is a sentiment sous-rature deferring to a stronger one that I think I may have forgotten in my haste to pack my pages with something worth saying “the end” to.

I’m lonely but I like it, seeking solace in a hollowness of feeling. I’ve become shameless, perhaps; a dreg sifter, unapologetically combing conversations for something worth keeping, a half-hearted prospector of emotions as of yet un-mined. I sit quiet, siphoning stranger’s stories, collecting stock sensations that I frame like photos before I pass them off as mine.

I’ve learned that little mystery goes a long way in a world of fast-fashion friendships and garnishless love.

Tonight you’re on the menu, sidled up to me at the bar like you didn’t chose the seat. When I lean in close you’re poker-faced but I read temptation in the tell of a tick. You know a room here wont cost you anything but a handful of buried secrets and in return I’ll provide a fresh set, bleached clean and hung out to dry.

I’m the slinger of sentiment, coat-tails wide with pockets full of stolen time, but you too are waiting for the clock-strike, the flag-fall, the ready-set-run. One sideways smile later, we’ve committed to an evening– not a crime– glasses raised to a midnight mess in a zero sum game, this capitalization of love. We both know these days  a real feeling costs a pretty penny and we’re already down for more than we’re worth; not trying to nickel and dime but old habits die hard when it comes to hedging bets.

So cheers to us, darling, straight laced drinkers cashing careless chips. I’m a runner with a skip in my pulse (they say it’s benign) and a hole in my pocket, or I think I lost count but until I catch up with myself I suppose you’ll do just fine.