chapter five

by s.

Chapter Five is the “turning thirty” of chapters. There is all this space before it where progress has been made and you’ve done some things and you have this closet full of clothes that have been with you for years but some of them you haven’t even worn yet. But still, there are more years in front of you than there are behind you, which seems completely impossible because look at all of the things that have happened in that time. Your notes for it are tagged things like “I don’t know what I am doing” and “here is the part where the thing goes.”

You keep yelling, “I need a map!!!” until you wake up one morning with a mild obsession with cartography.

Chapter Five becomes a map of your own, using small pieces of conversation and glass-clinks as reference points. How long does it take to get from A to B? Measure the space in between your first Sazerac at Monday night dinner as your dinner companion utters the words “wizard crush” and you start to giggle, and the time when you arrive home on Wednesday and your roommate emerges, glistening with sweat, from her bedroom blasting Britney Spears’ Greatest Hits and grins at you and says, “I’m just working through some shit.” That’s a couple of miles. Measure the space in between that time last summer you sat on a blanket in the park drinking Jameson from a plastic cup watching dogs and answering complicated questions about the future, and that moment last week when someone looked you in the eye and said “you are less funny than you think you are but you are smarter than you think you are.” That is about the same distance as New Zealand from New York. There are a couple of mountains in between.

Chapters one through four are about losing the map, or burning it, or waking up one morning and find that you scribbled in Sharpie over the directions with the phone number of a pretty-eyed boy. Chapter five is about looking for the damn thing everywhere and then realizing you’ve gone and drawn yourself a new one. Chapter five dances hard to pop hits, walks out of the room, looks back at you and says, “I’m just working through some shit.”

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