January 14, 2015

Glynnis Eldridge

Conversations at the End of the Tunnel

I think it happened around this time of year, late last fall, a few months in, on the lawn by the vagina installation in front of the library. Amanda and Julia filmed passersby interacting with the 6'tall x 6'deep vagina they had sewn together over November and December. It had filled our living room, once our floor space between the couch and the television, and the front door and the kitchen before it met the world outside our home. The vagina triggered conversations I then didn't know how to partake in. I listened to their feminist theory, queer theory, all the while writing papers about the inner-workings of the mind, specifically my own mind. I took long showers and pushed the hairs that fell out of my head into images on the tiled wall, listening to laughing coming up the stairs. I tried composing diagnoses in my head for myself.

People crawled into the vagina and looked into the camera at the cervix. Many shouted upon returning, “I'm born!” I crawled in. I sat curled in the red fabric for a few moments, looked at the library, the clouds, the people who looked curiously at me, and at likely the largest female genitalia to ever grace the college's lawn, and then I turned around and crawled back out, born again in the middle of a discussion about hot sauce. “I chugged a liter.” “No way dude, do you know how big a liter is?” And then, there, appeared, dangling before my eyes between his fingertips, the papers I had been dreading, the acceptance letter, his acceptance letter, his welcoming to study abroad in the spring.

“Congratulations!” was enough.  But it continued, “Your application has been approved! Please move forward with planning your semester abroad!”

He was so happy, and so proud. I knew what was coming. I tried to distance myself, starting then. I responded to his certainty of long distance relationships failing the way I thought was appropriate, and so I tried my hand at breaking up days after sitting together, angry, limbs entangled, crying about things we hadn't shared because we both thought we were being too greedy about talking more than listening. He left daffodils and lavender in a sea glass vase on my desk, along with two avocados, a box of chocolates, and a handwritten note consisting of a single word, “Stay.” 

December 13, in the morning; the Sunday before finals week. He cried at breakfast. We walked back to his room and I said something mean, left, and didn't speak to him for a week. I read all 47 emails he had sent. I decided to leave, too.

--excerpted from Full Rotation, a larger piece which may become larger.


Glynnis Eldridge lives in Massachusetts and works as a freelance writer and videographer. She is an alumna of the 2013 Yale Writers’ Conference.

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