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"Seventeen" by Sharon Van Etten
May 11, 2020 Monday 11:59 PM
Something fishy is afoot—did you know that?
I'm back home, in my parent's house, as of yesterday evening. I woke up at noon on Sunday when my parents arrived in Providence to help me move stuff out of the apartment, but our building manager told us that the house was closed until the insurance people could come by to assess the damage. We drove by so that I could show my parents the hole in the roof, but it was tarped up, and the windows on the first floor were all boarded up too. Idk why but I cried a lot. I guess I have been sad that I lost my little corner of the world. My small universe. I dunno. I am not too worried about *stuff,* per se. I've for sure probably lost around a hundred or more dollars of food (I'm including non-perishables because the water could have breached the cardboard of some of the packaging. Cans and bags should still be fine though). The other most valuable thing I've left among the stuff in my apartment is my hard drive and my SSD, amounting to about $150, and there was also some lav mics, but those should've been protected by the plastic box they're in.
Anyway I was freaking out and I just wanted to go home. The people at Brown have been really nice, this lady Dawn even brought me her own personal sheets and comforter from her house. It was so sweet I wanted to cry. I cried a lot!!! But I'm totally okay. I headed home with my parents last night on an impulse decision. It feels better to be here.
The night before the fire I was doing some work and drinking wine and eating cereal and talking to Matt, and I can't remember how we got on the subject but it turns out he didn't know I dated Moby, lol. I told him about a couple of my relationships in the past, including Isaac. Isaac has been coming up in my head a couple times because it's been about a year or so since I'd last talked to him. I'm sure I've thought of him before that during the year, the same way I think of anyone I used to know.
Anyway, that night I had a dream about him. I was on campus, everyone was on campus, everything was sunny and people were on the Quiet Green or the Main Green, or maybe they were the same thing; it was like the university had grown taller and more enclosed and sunnier and longer. All distorted, a half combo of some Hogwarts or maybe some West Coast university where they have arched outdoor hallways between buildings, but all in the old New England style. Anyway, I saw Isaac there, wearing a forest green sweater and laughing and smiling with some guys who I guess were his friends. I was talking to someone, saying, "What is he doing here?" and they told me he was a student, a freshman, and I said I knew him from high school and he was actually only a year younger than us. And I also said, "It's not that he doesn't belong here—he's smart. I'm just surprised, he never really wanted something like this before. I don't think he wanted to go to college."
I felt left behind somehow. I kept trying to get to him, find him, follow the back of his head (hair cut like high school) and the green of his sweatshirt, but he got lost in the crowd and he was so engrossed in his new friends and so happy.
When I woke up, I didn't have time to think about it because Sonya was saying, "We have to get out, the roof is on fire," so, you know. But I remembered it later when I was in the apartment picking through my half-soaked belongings, throwing them into garbage bags and suitcases to bring into the yard; I was looking through my social security card and my birth certificate, and in my file box I found this old underpainting I made of Isaac, where it's just him in a t-shirt, but I never figured out how to paint the face, so I didn't. Obviously, I left it behind and I didn't think about it much, but I am kind of worried now that I left the lid of my file box open; I thought I'd be able to return to the room soon enough, but I couldn't so now it may be collecting water, all my sentimental stuff bleeding ink all over the place. But the painting will be fine, it's canvas. Not that it's worth anything. It's not even 10% finished, it looks like shit. I honestly don't remember why I brought it with me.
Anyway, I think I'm a little psychic. That night I decided to text Isaac, and he was all, "Far out I was just thinking about you the other day," and later, idk where, he told me he input my contact info into his new phone with the intent to text me but then he forgot. I'm PSYCHIC.
It was nice to catch up!! He seems happier. And he sent me a bunch of his art. It kind of hurts my stomach, because I'm just glad to see he's still working on it, it's so fucking GOOD! I prefer his comics to his paintings, but the paintings are getting much better as well, they're starting to look very horrifying and nightmare-ish, a bit like Dr. Seuss, which makes sense. One of the paintings is "supposed to be like a hollow body full of blonde hair haah lol" jesus christ.
I like that he plays along with my dumb jokes.
He said, "My body makes noises now when I get up. I'm soo old"
And I said that I wanted to embroider things for people and I was tihnking of taking up knitting next (following a previous line of conversation), and then asked about his noises, saying, "Isaac, ur 20 lol"
He said, "Lol wanna knit me something? I'm wearing an entire woolen sweater rn. And like what noises an old house should make when the wind blows through its aching rotting timbers"
"ur so DRAMATIC hahaha" and I asked if he wanted a hat, gloves, bra..
He said, "A bra" and he wanted it to be black and white.
Although at one point I said I have useless premonitions all the time (this is an established thing among all my friends, it happens semi-frequently and it is absolutely never helpful lol). He said, "Marry me," and then, "I'm kidding," which was strange but I let it be, and he followed it by asking if I was still in school, and I said:
"yes, this is actually finals week! good time for my roof to burn. i have a couple stuff to finish up
the universe seems bent on me failing my history class but whatever"
And he said, "Omg lol I guess you get to be dramatic"
And I said, "yes absolutely that's just who i am"
It was nice talking to him! He said he tried to visit me in a lucid dream a while back but I only spoke in waa-waas like the teachers from Charlie Brown and my room was a forest. But I actually spoke to him on the phone yesterday, which was nice. At first he sounded like a stranger, but then I started to remember the rhythm of the way he talks, like an old man. With a slight New York accent or something. And an odd see-sawing laugh.
I was surprised to find out he has good taste in music? Not super similar to mine, but we have some mutual knowledge of artists which is nice. In particular, he seems to like angsty and/or rock songs with female singers??? He actually recommended this one, which made me happy because I already knew it from this winter (I think.. or was it last summer?). Listening to this makes me feel nostalgic, and I wonder what he does when he's listening to this kind of music. Is he driving? Walking around his apartment ?Cooking? Chilling with his cat on the couch? Crying? He told me he cries "like every night" kind of joking but also kind of not, which I get because when I say, "I cut my hair off 'cause I was anxious" I'm joking but also that really happened, lol.
Apparently his hair is long now. "To your shoulders?" I asked and he said, "Nah, not quite." He says he wants to go west. Makes sense, he's the restless type. I made him laugh, which was good, lol. I'm lame and ranty, but it's pretty easy to talk to him because I think we have similar senses of humor.
He wanted to meet up in person, but I said no because, you know... pandemic. I said I'd look up whether we could take a walk six feet apart, but I discarded that idea and when he asked why I said because I'd have to lie to my parents and I didn't want to do that. Which is true. I'm not going to lie to my parents so I can go out with an old friend out of curiosity and some very odd dream compulsion I am feeling. What if one of us were carriers? What if I brought that back to my parents? No. They're old, I worry about them. I told him to downlaod Skype or something, but he's really, really bad with computers for some reason so idk if he'll listen. But he respected my wishes, which is more than he would've done 3 years ago.
Oh. I forgot to mention. I got to my parents house and pretty much immediately found my sister's old Livermore High School sweatshirt and put it on. It is forest green. I only just realized this today. I'm being paranoid, swayed into believing something. It felt like I had been planning the entire time to put on that sweatshirt. I barely thought about it, I grabbed the sweater and changed. But it's probably because I had seen the green sweater in my dream, probably because I was wearing a green flannel that day. Probably has nothing to do with anything else, but I am still a little prone to imagine something else.
It's 12:40 right now. I haven't begun my finals. I spent 2 hours on hold with Verizon today in order to cancel my wifi, I reported the fire to Red Cross, and I also submitted some requests to National Grid to cancel our utilities, and I need to call the landlord and a couple more people tomorrow. I think I am going to brush my teeth and get ready for bed. I want to wake up early tomorrow so I can actually get stuff done. And maybe get out of the house a bit.
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