20 December 2021

0 we none of us ever know


bingley died. he was very sick. 

thinking it was nothing, thinking i was overreacting, i took him to the vet. and it was very very serious for like a day, during which i cried all of my eyeballs out, and then it was less serious and then he threw up some vile looking worms on a saturday night, and i took him to the hospital on a sunday morning, before daylight, and it was extremely serious and he was gone by 11:15 am.  

i was not overreacting. 

never ever do i trust myself. which is unfortunate because i am usually almost always right. 

my guts, i never believe them, and yet they have never lied. 

in youth group, we always took these spiritual gift tests. mine was always discernment. funny then, but also typical, that this is the ability i most often question. it's, allegedly, my strength. and yet i am filled with doubt. 

they swept us off to a little room by ourselves. because he was reported to have a respiratory infection. when the vet first came in, she was all suited up, like we were in ET

the next time she came in, she was just in scrubs. 

the thing is so much has happened this year (i almost wrote this semester, but that is not even the extent of it, lol), so much has happened and so much of what has happened has been dealt with alone. not alone as in unsupported, because that is inaccurate. i have so terribly much support.

rather, so much of it has been dealt with physically alone. which is maybe why that visceral moment of debo and my's bodies coming unstuck sticks with me. because, in the experience of this past year, it was so singular. to share emotion with someone in person, embodied. (the egyptian being the only other person with whom i have openly wept this year IRL.)

the thing that struck me about the veterinarian, whose name i did not know at that point, was her candor, her kindness, and her generosity with her time. 

the kleenex box was severely understocked for a room filled with such grief. but she brought me water, if not coffee. and she sat with me. and she listened to me. and she acknowledged that my own mental health mattered in the decision i had to make. 

she set me up to leave that room, having had to make an awful choice, with no guilt. 

that is a lovely, lovely gift to give someone. i've not yet written her an email of thanks but i will. and it's a gift for which i have spent the last week and a half feeling incredibly grateful. 

when, after a date with a dude who-- halfway through dinner-- confessed a love of jordan peterson, left me with a possible exposure covid, thus resulting in the cancellation of my parents' pre-christmas visit, there was nothing to do but laugh. 

because it has, undoubtedly, already been the worst year of my life. 

the egyptian was shocked when i said this. i was shocked by his shock. surely this was not a surprise. 

but i hide things well. i give the appearance of going on. even as i feel i am at once entirely my full self whilst also being wholly numb. i do not know how that is possible but it is where we are. 

i do not know that i know how anger feels, i tell my therapist. 

in speaking about so many things, i am aware of a reliance upon the sentence construction of i imagine i would have felt.... and the elision of actual feeling that that represents. 

the memory i keep coming back to is when i left the yacht in chatham. i'd walked there, up a ridiculous vertical incline in driving rain, peed at the m&s, and then wandered the boat under cloud cover. but when i walked back to the train, the sun had come out and the skies were blue, the air brisk. and i felt nothing but joy. 

i prayed as i walked, i was so grateful to be where i was. i was so grateful for the story i knew i was in the middle of. 

when i try to remember the last time i felt joy, that is the moment that pops to mind. 

undoubtedly, it was not the last. it was so terribly long ago. surely, there must've been others. but look at all the convoluted verbs there. there must have been. nothing is immediately at hand, at the moment. everything arrives at a remove. 

i hunger for closeness. i long for immediacy. and yet all of my sentences mediate themselves. the distance is there, in the expression of the feeling, in all of the words I supply to separate the subject from the object, all of the space i impose.  

no wonder sitting three feet away from someone who legitimized my emotion and grief felt like a treasure, like a fucking semi-precious gem, even as she handed me a kleenex box that held, i kid you not, TWO kleenex-- a sum total nowhere near adequate for the amount of snot yielded by my outpouring of emotion. 

but that's the one that sticks out, that moment post-yacht and intra-blue sky, entangled as it was in jackie and writing and hope and living and adventure. 

my to do list for winter break is colossal-- a word that always makes me think of felicity porter's father. 11 things, and yet already i've whittled it down to 4. 

when i went to meet bing for the first time, way back, a mere four months ago, in august, there was this moment of sheer panic while i was sitting upstairs with the fosters. the feeling wasn't new. i recognized it from when claude first came to live with me. i think it's the terror of love. the terror of opening up a compartment for feeling which carries with it the threat of so much hurt, so much devastation. 

i'm aware of feeling this with animals, less so with people. which isn't to say that i just fling open the doors of my heart for people, but rather that it is perhaps a slower entry. with an animal, with an adoption, the commitment is, very quickly, total. 

bingley swatted at me. that gave me pause. later, after the moment of private panic upstairs, i went back down to say goodbye to him. and he ran over with that weird, jaunty high step he had that i could never get on film. and he bumped his head into my palm like a dog. and i knew he was mine. i thought it would be for longer, but we take what we can get. all of it, for however long, is a blessing. 

what i remember about my first date with the egyptian is that i demonstrated, on his hand, how bingley did that. and, as i did so, we looked into each others eyes. 

and yes, it hurts, yes, it is devastating. and, yes, i would do nothing differently. 

i went to pick up a peace lily from a dude the other day. he took 25 minutes to bring it down. he handed it to me with a warning that it was a delicate plant and that it was far too cold out for it so i'd better hope the bus came soon. 

the bus i'd missed by three minutes due to his delay. 

she was intensely interesting, she carried a lot of weather. i saw this quote about carolyn bessette the other day and i thought, good for her

here's to carrying a lot of weather. here's to owning it. 

i'm torn between knowing i should probably be cautious, and plunging ahead, throwing open the doors of my heart. 

because life is so terribly fragile, so very short. and we only get the one. 

and we none of us ever know what will happen next. this is the theme of all my writing, in part because it initially seemed like a weirdly original idea for something so obvious. now, because it's truth is inescapable. with covid. with donovan. with burvil. with living. 

in living, we do not know what will happen next. everything we ever do is informed by our ignorance and the decisions we make based upon it. 

how bold, the effort in going on. how wild, the ways in which we plunge forward, into all manner of things, hearts in various states of damage and disrepair, as the world crumbles and burns and melts around us. 

she was intensely interesting, she carried a lot of weather

what a fucking brilliant legacy. 

may we all be so lucky to own our weather and move forward, into love, with it. 

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