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.
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.
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.
You do not know a thing and, if you did, you still wouldn’t string a sentence eloquent, worth listening to.
I might never. True. But if I do, don’t think me wrong for not following your advice incrementally, because you wouldn’t follow it fractionally. And you know it.
Everything is perfectly photocopied, the toner picking out every grey, giving sheen only new machines can, and each internet page is perfectly clear also. Everything’s perfect, exactly, and other options are an antiquated ideal you’ve knocked out of yourselves because those you admire did.
Speak to me like a kid one more time. I double dare you to do it. Tell me what I am is wrong. Pry until you’re satisfied. And when you’re licking my bones, magnifying glass study, see the cracks?
I’m learning to clay mould myself with hands which worked better four years ago. And I’ll Polyfiller myself up, and I’ll miss evenings we spent and moments we connected, like episodes of Saved by the Bell: non-specifically. And the overall impression you’ll have left will be exclusively defined by how you treated me when my worst was cake base scraping me. Whatever you said then, sticks. And I’m sorrynotsorry. I guess next time you’ll know not to judge people whose lives you so little know.
Months from now I’ll be 70% myself again, sort of statue strong, and everyone’s scared, everyone will be. Because my own mind. Yes, that, will be a thing once more. I can’t wait for it. And the people, indispensable to me? Ones that believed me, and in me, when I didn’t. Coercion-less. How rare and fucking brilliant that is.
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.
If this is burning my life to the ground, then okay. Fire extinguish me. Especially if you know what’s best for me. I’m going to assume that you do.
The advice you’ve cheese fries dished out with lashings of BBQ sauce, is it what you’d want to hear in this exact dilemma? Would you hope for a stock drawer answer, or an inspirational meme, or a worn out platitude that didn’t even work on TV?
Because if I’ve learnt one thing, it’s this: advice is lint.
Seriously, shit. And even professionals, who I total value, if they’d said the opposite of what the underside of my heart says, the really crappy layer, like old tyres with no grip, I’d ignore it. Because no-one knows my nerves like me.
It’s two words: match and point. I pick discrepancies up each piece I read. Whether you like it or not, I am your editor.
You got the volley right, the limbo, the way we photo developed until every picture was a little reddy orange, overexposed, ultimately unframeable. And endless.
So I ended it, quite unprompted. Except, do you even believe anything’s over which wasn’t before? That we’ll never really talk again? Because I don’t.
There’s always next week. All I need’s a pencil and a print out of everything you ever wrote. I’ll perfect you. That’s what I do. And you know that, don’t you?
Where did it go, the notion that some things you’re told simply for you? When did diagnosis get fodder, dinner conversation at parties I’m not even at?
Selective smartness says people talk. I even really know. But I forget when my story traded hands into your hands, with permission gift to dollar slick each of my details into someone’s else’s teeth. Because I never gave it, to you, did I? You didn’t ask what’s okay, and what’s not.
What I’m over is sixth degree separation pity filling inboxes after ten and Christmas cards laced with condolences and sorry scrawled worse than love. And texts to say we’ve heard and people I work with finding out, choiceless, before I’m ready to tell. I thought that you knew; I thought you would know. This is not your news to tell.
If you’re dead wood, what am I? Deader? Or algae growing on wood, ready for a scrape, or shade, power washer.
I instruct you how to block someone even though you’re versed in blocking me, just, maybe not when I’ve already blocked you. Strange how a thread disappears, a confusing edit making a 52 message string almost incomprehensible; people balking at nothing.
But we don’t balk, really. We’re blitzed and escalation sits bemused on our eyeballs. And really, I didn’t digest a thing which happened the last 6 months, or before, and I don’t see how I’m going to. Because the future is this unthinkable thing, you know? This unpredictable, potentially awful, ungrabbable, unimaginable, not-Disney-movie, piece of shit to plan for.
So if the choice is mine, like, seriously, and I get to pick anything I think will make me happy, then, what should I? How much longer can this wax and wane fester, like yesterday’s guac? And what’s with the wait?
I’d like to believe the best in people. That there’s best in people, and some of us aren’t the stiff skin we seem and, underneath, our organs are swimming with meaningful feeling which we’ll bestow on another human being should we meet one.
Who am I kidding? I’ve believed the best in people, saw what they could be, not what they were. It was a cliff drop. There’s no way back from. And I’d do it again in an instant. Because it’s better than painkillers. Or I just need stronger ones.
I dreamt about you last night. But I won’t write about that. I won’t write it. And you know why? And you’ll never.