Wednesday, 4 October 2017

treasure: writing grief

Today, I wore makeup for the first time since I heard you had died. My bare face was intended as a symbol of grief, but nobody has noticed. My mascara was not waterproof, in any case; impractical. I decided to trust myself not to cry unexpectedly; I hoped the majority of tears had been wrung out of me by now. 

There’s not a way to write an ode to you, Daniel. Each word you’re over my shoulder, knowing a better way to make a sentence sing. Your ghost is a literary monster shadow, and the thorough way I resent you for this is what I’d love to capture in words. 

I’ve made you laugh out loud with things I’ve written, your laugh inflating my ego every time. I’ve laughed at and loved your work, right before your eyes (or almost - you hid while I read and returned for the compliments, your cigarette smoked). 

I’m so tired. There’s only one night I can chalk up to sleepless grief, and that’s the night we had the news. Just so you know, I still don’t believe it. It takes the breath out of me and makes me wish to sleep a thousand years. I’m tired of feeling so very out of control - a whole planet, out of orbit. 

Today is a day I’ve been floating through; bumping into small parts sadness and distraction. I don’t know how to miss you. I don’t know what’s right - what you’d think made sense and what you’d scoff at.

Today is a day built on the fragility of our skin and bones. 

I’ve made a point of telling a story of my tears, to admit that most days lately I’ve cried the very tears I’m trying to manipulate into comic effect, somehow. I want to see how far I push this before they stop believing or responding. 

I wanted to tell the short story of us, to frame some of my sorrow in justification - see, we were close, he meant something - but also I mostly want very keenly to keep this close to my heart. I keep trying to take it out to look at it, to build some perspective, but my eyes beg to slide past it to focus on the middle distance. When does it go from being raw to being something to use? I’m trying to use it now, and getting nowhere.

The thing nobody tells you about grief is how quiet it is. It lays itself in your bones so they’re just a little more dense than they were before. It lines the pockets of your clothes; it rests just a little heavy on your tongue.

The thing nobody tells you about grief is how you’re alone with it so much of the time, because of the way people forget. The way people forget is sort of important too, to keep the world moving. 

The thing nobody tells you about grief is how it slaps you in the face; sucks the air from your lungs; drops you from a great height. It’s also nothing shocking - there, tucked underneath other piles of loose papers until the stone weighing it all down is shifted and it’s away.

The thing nobody tells you about grief is how it makes you look. Today, I wore makeup for the first time since I heard you had died. My face has been a mask plenty of other ways since then, but I have allowed space for the tears to fall away.


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