This is not the life I wanted. This is the life she wanted.
To be safe. To be safe from everything. To not feel. To get up late and make the day short. Make the noise shorter. Make the window to meet other people in very small.
I loved her so much. I gave her everything. I gave her my love and my attention and all the information she wanted. I lied for her. I dreamed of saving her. Of winning the lottery and getting her back to that island, the only place she ever spoke joyfully of.
I took her rhythm for my own, just to be able to be with her after dark, when she calmed down. To feel safe together. One more day, conquered. 2AM in front of a hissing TV, it’s safe now. It’s safe to go to bed. She’s too tired to get upset.
I miss her so much. I wish just once, she had heard me and not who she thought I was.
I wish I could stop wishing for that.
I wish I could stop living like she did, keeping everyone at a distance and all possibility tied up in indecision.
I’ve had 22 years to come up with a life for myself. I haven’t.
I wish I could learn all those things that make up a day, make up structure, the way other kids did. They became people. I just became avoidance.
I can tell a good story. Almost all my stories are good. And they happened. I’ve never needed to embellish what happened in my beautiful haphazard life. But what does it mean, if I can’t hold my own day together?
I don’t even know what to learn. What’s possible. I’m still living like there is a confused, angry, dangerous grown-up in the room. Except now that grown up is me.
I’m so sad, I don’t know what to do with my day.
That’s not the life I wanted. But I can’t remember the life I did want.
I was always so good at hope. Especially at uncovering other people’s.
when I turn up my own life blanket, all I see is dust bunnies.
I stopped looking forward. I stopped living in my body. I stopped living what I believed in. Put a cork in wonder. I used to be a pirate. I used to come up with crazy plans. I used to dream up things that couldn’t possibly succeed and make them work, on faith alone. (As if faith is ever alone.)
When did my spark of crazy go out? Is it just in the other room?
What a shit story to tell. I hate stories that deconstruct pain. What’s the point? Putting other people through that and it’s not even accurate. It can’t be, because they weren’t there.
But here I am, putting more pain on the page, smearing it out thin, hoping to finally see through it.
I so want to write better stories than this. But I guess first I have to live a better life.
Rexy wasn’t an elephant. Wasn’t a hedgehog either. They did look a bit like elephant, in places, a bit like hedgehog too. But in total, Rexy was clearly neither.
Because they were not a hedgehog, or an elephant, other animals found Rexy very confusing. “That’s not an elephant!” said the elephants. “It’s deffo no hedgehog” said the hedgehogs, terribly hip as they are.
“Maybe it’s an Oliphog?” offered the ants. That didn’t sound right to Rexy.
“They’re certainly not an owl.” said the fox. “Only mildly fox-like, me-thinks…” said the owl, from behind his Raybans. The camels didn’t know what to say, so they all just frowned with their nostrils, like always.
Many, many animals were far too busy thinking about what kind of animal Rexy could possibly be. It kept them up at night. “But, but, there must be some name for it? What if it’s something we’ve never heard of? That’s unheard of!”
Rexy did feel sad for a time. Unsure, tired, and sad, because everyone was so puzzled by them.
There were however some things Rexy knew for sure. Rexy knew, they liked apples. They liked apples a lot! Loved flapping their ears at the sun and the stars and the trees… LOVED rolling downhill, even if they looked very messy afterwards. Rexy loved to stomp in puddles. Rexy loved…
While Rexy was picturing all those things they loved and enjoyed, all of a sudden they understood. I know what kind of animal I am, Rexy thought. I am an animal who likes what they like and doesn’t like what they don’t like. I’m an animal who always finds new ways, to play and play and play… I am Rexy! That’s what I am, I am Rexy!
And so it was and that was that.
Some animals continued to puzzle over what Rexy was. Some animals were still up at night, wondering, wondering, wondering…
But not Rexy. Rexy knew. Rexy played and played and played, was sad when they were sad and happy when they were happy. At night, Rexy slept as deep as one can sleep.
I read Judy Blume’s Tiger Eyes in High school.
I remember the part where the main character buries her father’s bloody clothes, as a final farewell.
I wondered what it smelled like, in that hot weather.
I didn’t throw the pillow out at first. She’d had a stroke and had bled all over it. In august. It had been a few days before they found her. It sat on the couch for quite a time, while I slowly cleared out the house. I had put my nose to it, smelled it, early on. The perfume she favored in the end was barely there. Mostly it smelled like old blood.
That scent changed over time. Her perfume disappeared altogether. It had died too. Finally, I threw it out. It was too early for a final farewell.
I do have her glasses. A small, gold-color frame. It doesn’t smell like her, but on the glass is an imprint of her skin.
I wore it once, a few years ago. So I can’t be completely certain anymore that the imprint is of her skin.
I like to think it is.