Over Christmas, we wrote a draft of your will. We read the instructions to phrase it exactly, legally, and you divided your possessions up carefully, thinking what everyone wants. We didn’t have witnesses, much, so we never wrote up in best, and you realised you had little left anyone wanted and, though it’s a joke, the list is seriously it: the loose change on the floor of your flat for Amber, the books you’re in, your Woody Allen collection for me. At the top, you named me executor and I asked if that was okay, and you said no-one’s surprised, nobody would be. And this was one on a list of eight things we say we’ll do but don’t, things we think will be funny but, bravado aside, it turns out I don’t love to think of you dead.
If you change your mind, tell me. But give me detail.
I even get it. I wasn’t joking; already preempt each end that we’ll have. I’m insulated. Just tell me.
Make the conversation last. Don’t make the cull immediate. Let me learn the amputation as you do it: place my hand on the blade as you sever.
If you change your mind, s’alright. You’re not tied, obligated, entrenched or expected. Nothing runs like that, does it?
This, the situation we’re in, this is just what is. And if it’s not, if feelings shift, epiphanies sift the clutter we’ve created with dictionary, mantle, bone, don’t worry. I’ll unhook you.
Which is not to say go.
Just, if you have to, let’s always be able to talk. There’s never any judgement, censor, uncertainty. You let me say anything and – please – always.
If you have to block me, do it. Just explain it. Use quotes if you have to. And let me know, eventually, we’ll have another re-run. Maybe not reunion, but replay, syndication, or start.
Keep talking. Keep everything. For as long as I can have it. I press you.
Cellophane wrap or sealed pack or paper bag: clutch me. Try not to drop me.
It, this, crept like damp from the doorway until there was mould along the skirting.
I consciously partook in phone calls and friendings and 56,000 FB messages.
A lie would be I was absent for it. I was absent very little of it.
And now, history book months later, all I want is that wheezing breath next to me.
Hearts suck. Seriously. I mean.
Every article I’ve read has hoped to enforce an underlying morality code that isn’t even there.
But I’m still reading them. Even though I’ve digested pagefuls of contrary, I continue to Google questions there aren’t even answers to.
And when someone holds my viewpoint, rarely, I ten second covet it. But my family/friends depend on disabled labels lately, so own mind isn’t a thing but a past relic that even the history of’s erased like a floppy: corrupt before you can do anything.
If I told you I knew what I wanted, know what I want, would you believe me? Or would it confirm your diagnosis, doctor ready?
Prescribe me what you like. It won’t change anything.
You drew a line with a finger, where the booth cushions met, said, “Don’t cross it, yeah?” I didn’t plan to, then, even as I edged closer. That was a test, a buffering at 68% permanently, no chance of an actual load.
You still sit across from the line, always on that side, to my right, and I’m usually first to move. Destroyed now I know what it’s like. Before, I relegated connections to a section in my head for fiction, religion and make believe. That third day I had to concede some times invisible isn’t absent. And now I’m absolute certain of it.
You’re cotton wool soaking me up. And each time a decry of, “Absence doesn’t fondness make,” is thrown between bottled beers, you raise a hand, and everyone knows what you’ll say without you ever saying.
Proximity. Who knew? Who really fucking did, though?
Which future point will I make decisions at and have no-one questioning competency? Maybe I’m disabled but my brain is functioning, like, 94% of the time, at my roughest guess. So I make choices, or minors steps towards possible choices, and I tell you about it, you should understand the utter privilege of being included at all; I don’t talk to anyone, now. I mostly know better than that.
I retract my permission slip to let you sift slick your POV on to me. I know my mind only. You don’t know it. It’s a best guess, and you’re guessing badly, sorry.
When I actually do it, will you stop asking if the right thing is a thing I’m thinking? Of course I’ve thought about it. A snap decision is seeming the total desirable thing, because the fallout shock, someone just doing something you didn’t expect, you have to come to terms, digest the grief. But this draw-out of my own enduring, is what sets the judgement switch to on.
Your judging makes me sick. I love you, but I could vomit earlier, at the fat of the implication I wouldn’t do right or best.
Be me now. Qualify yourself to say. Or STFU.
If I state what I am, like, do, don’t, would never, you shrug and say sure. You see the hologram sticker version of me, not standard issue, and you enjoy every glint, reflect and awful detail. You’re at the edge of each sentence I say with a tailored response like you’re listening. I mean, maybe you actually are? It seems unlikely to 96% of the cross section of people we interview about it, but unlikely isn’t off-table altogether.
If you text, said you weren’t coming back, that I’d never, I wonder what I’d do. But until a person’s in a situation, can’t nearly imagine; it’s only conjecture. No one can guess, though they try, they stab, do. And their answers, like scientific revelations, I’m meant to prescription swallow according to a personalised rule set. I take advice from doctors: anything else is ridiculous.
I shouldn’t blame the judgement-ists. They didn’t feel it.
I phone you back because we’re never done, especially when we say we are, which is why every goodbye’s thirty minutes long; it’s impossible to package us neatly up, like a suctioned haggis, metal ties on the end to keep fresh.
I can’t compile us like an essay collection or tea set for the charity. As a Collected Works we’d maybe make sense, and we’re not nonsensical now, only, there’s always more, especially when we out loud state there won’t be.
We plan Thanksgiving in September, though you hate celebration as much as existentialism, which you hardly hate at all, just you’re not a fan of the quivering limbo it tram seat sits you in, and you can’t get off between stops. Uncertainty’s the kicker.
You text me back when the call’s missed and the call ends more than once, and four hours feels like six minutes, and I know it’s never over: I know it never is.
I want to know how to get out of quicksand and survive it. Apparently using a stick helps. Creating bigger footprints. Not struggling. Is that what my problem is?
We both know it’s not easy as exchanging skirts for other sizes or switching gluten for the wheat. There is no fix to anyone’s any of this.
“Everything’s up in the air,” you say, “for everyone,” and we’re each giving advice we don’t know how to take ourselves, even though the things we accept, button like uniform up, we tell others not to.
It’s easier to pull someone out of a pit than it is to get yourself out, I think.
We’ve survived so many things, and some we’re living with, and if there’s one person you can never bin, it’s yourself.