In the Museum of Natural History, there is only one room that I care about. That room is big, and dark and blue. The ceiling is lit to look like an ocean. It is always busy but also not. The sounds of families seeps into the blue carpet and everything feels cool and soft. The most important part of the room is what is hanging from the ceiling.
The life size replica of a Blue Whale, rests softly in mid air. I know that he or she is bolted to the ceiling, but because I cannot see the beams I pretend that she's floating just above me as I lay on the hardwood paneling made for visitors, right underneath her. I have been in that spot twice in my life. Once when I was realizing that I was in love with someone, and then recently, long after we had parted ways.
This summer I was laying in bed listening to Lorde's powerful drawl, staring at my ceiling. It was covered in old peeling glow in the dark stars, from the previous owner of the house. I discovered them the first night I slept in my new room in 2013, I shut off my lamp and screeched-- for a second it looked like the room had no ceiling but the sky. My drowsy eyes soon made sense of the stickers and noticed that right above the bed's center stars were arranged to spell out "M+N" and then in another corner, "Big Jim." That one creeped me out, I don't know who Jim is but I don't want him on my ceiling. I haven't taken the M+N down, and part of me is certain they are only together on this ceiling, and it would be rude of me to separate their celestial union, however plastic it may be.
So here I am staring at more ceilings, listening to Lorde croon, "I light all the candles/ buy flowers for all my rooms/ I care for myself the way I used to care about you" I brought the soft inner side of my wrist to my nose. I hadn't bought flowers but I did buy a new perfume. One my love hadn't smelled yet, maybe it could make my skin remember less. Probably not.
I remember when I was little I would work myself into fits where crying became hard to stop. My family told me I was melodramatic, that I would cry because I liked to. Maybe that was true. I learned to feel bad about being sad, as we all do eventually. Mature people control their emotions and don't expose them.
At the end of high school, the first person to break my heart made me feel crazy and dramatic. Which is no way to act, heartbreak or not. So I packed up my sadness and moved to college--hid it amongst my sweaters and at the bottom of a cup. It took me years to unravel all those things I hid away from that summer after high school. I eventually did, as we eventually do, and I ended up falling in love again.
At the end of college my heart got broken again, this time, though, the ex-partner didn't make me feel melodramatic. I was. And that wasn't a problem. The heartbreak was.
This year, I went to lay under the whale because the last time I had I was just starting to open up to the idea of new love. I am always laying down when I am sad because heartache makes me feel like I am going to crack like an egg and spill out everywhere. And everyone will say, look at this mess you've made. Look at what we have to clean up.
I call from underwater/ why even try to get right/ when you've out grown a lover/ the whole world knows but you
In Lorde's Hard Feelings/Loveless, there's a musical interlude that is a compilation of hard sounds mixing minor tunes and major ones together in a sort of dance. It sounds like the whole song is under water, it sounds like Lorde and I are at the bottom of the ocean-- because our heavy hearts sank us there. The sharp, abstract sounds are reminiscent of whales, calling something out to no reply.
Ella and I are familiar with this. We are safe down here in the blue. And we will stay here, singing, until we're ready to come up.