the problem with people being gone is that there's a hole left by their absence.
it's thoroughly different from the hole left in your life when you're just not friends. when you're just not talking. because then, you know, even though you're not friends, not talking, you could still email. you could still call. there is still the possibility of communication.
death is the end of the possibility of any communication.
and so it leaves hole in your soul rather than simply in your life.
i find myself wanting to email donovan, to talk to him about 9/11.
this is foolish, i imagine you saying. so much time has passed, so many months.
and yet no time has passed even at all.
on the day joe died, i wrote this paragraph. and i wanted to include it in the whole 'let's do this' business about joe dying where i, ostensibly, handled joe's death in one fell swoop, though really not even at all.
let's be real, i've barely begin to acknowledge joe's death, barely begun to accept it as fact. instead, i've simply refocused all my attention on burvil, as though she's always been a widow, as though joe was never even there.
this is easier.
a cleaner cut.
publicly, anyway. in private, there are places my brain cannot go. memories roped off in electrical wire. emotions intricately tied up, loosened thus far only by the brain cancer of valerie harper and the whole business this past summer with gay people and chick-fil-a.
anyway, back to the paragraph i wrote on the day joe died. it was this:
i live in london. i've seen django unchained. i know now what 9/11 meant to me.
i've been longing to be in new york lately, and i'm surprised to find that my being in new york has been largely reduced to this memory: of walking through the rain after that horrendous social media panel and calling donovan. he'd just been diagnosed with cancer. he'd gone to the doctor, gotten a good report and a new ipad. he kept saying everything was okay.
i cannot remember a subsequent conversation with anyone where i've been quite so aware of my aliveness, of all of the possibilities. except for maybe my last conversation with joe. for that feeling of aliveness isn't felt in the moment so much as after. it colors these conversations in retrospect, making them more lively than they maybe were because we know they were the last.
joe'd gotten into the bad habit of saying hello and passing the phone off to burvil. in hindsight, we've reasoned that he was conserving his energy, that he knew his time was near. maybe he did, maybe he didn't. regardless, our last conversation was the best we'd had in years.
i talked about the intricacies of united kingdom zip codes. he told me how he'd been to an anglican service and found it fascinating.
this past weekend, i went to an anglican service.
walking home after, in the bright sunlight, i wanted nothing more than to call him.