Love Letter, Unsent

sink-baby
Photo of the author being given a bath. Presumably by the author’s mother.

Dear Mom,

I miss you.

It has been exactly a year since we last communicated. I recognize our estrangement remains fully my choice, that I have only to pick up the phone and you or dad would without doubt answer. I think about that option every day.

I miss you—deeply—every day.

And, every day, I remember: sometimes we face decisions where all the options are bad. All that anyone can do then is choose the least shitty of the shitty outcomes.

And so I choose to orphan myself.

For me, losing you remains the least-bad option available.

* * *

I remember clearly that it was Valentine’s Day, the last day I replied to any message from you. One of the texts you sent, amid that final flurry of texts, simply said “Happy Valentine’s Day! I love you!” And I’m sure you thought that was innocuous. I’m sure you thought that, THAT, was a message I couldn’t possibly take issue with.

And so I would give you what you wanted.

But this is not how love works. This is not how anything works.

Continue reading “Love Letter, Unsent”

My Beautiful Boy

nathan_10-15-16

Nathan
Apr. 2003-Oct. 23, 2016

[Photo taken in happier times, AKA one week ago.]

His death was sudden and shocking: both very quick and—in the bleak final hours—excruciatingly slow, brutal, and painful. I went from praying that he would live long enough to make it to the euthanasia appointment the vet and I had scheduled for 10:30 this morning (in case the last-ditch home remedies didn’t work overnight) to pleading with the universe to please let just him go.

At 3:12 this morning, convulsing on the bathroom floor where he always loved to laze, his head cupped in my hands, my baby went.


Oh my dearest, darling Nath.

You stupid, dumbass, beloved little shit, who never found a bit of plastic or lint on the floor (or even random flicker of shadow either, let’s be honest!) that you didn’t feel compelled to eat: I have no idea what you found to scarf up over the last few days that turned your tummy into a graveyard, but I am truly sorry I could not save you from yourself. You got into so many mishaps over the years because you found the whole of your world too fascinating to worry over every little detail, like “is this actually edible?” or “will this set me on fire?” Continue reading “My Beautiful Boy”

Once Upon A Time

fairy-hand

SELF-PORTRAIT IN POTENTIA


After the death of memoir, I will write fairy tales.

I desire a purity of language outside the stink of events and memories. Stories I cannot be accused of having invented because of course I have invented them.

Neither full fiction, nor freighted fact.

I would show other bones behind my telling.

*

Fable gifts us fanciful creatures, fanciful bodies, fanciful selves. In the tales, I shall become winged, ogrish, bulky as a mountain, a face all crooked nose and sharpened teeth—by turns witch, killer, a dragon in shadows. I rend flesh. I eat princesses whole. I am wolf and hunter both, my head too full to contain in just one mind, in just one set of teeth.

I am Little Red Riding Hood’s lover.

I pull my feet off the ground and still know where I am standing.

*

I grew up in a gingerbread house, led by a gingerbread man, all of us happy and perfect and filled with gumdrops to our eyelids until at last we bled gumdrops out our mouths, and still we filled with them. I was a princess who gave away her voice for love, who danced in magical shoes until her feet were stumps and slept atop 85 feathered mattresses yet still could find no rest.

All the while being told (small child in a small child’s nightgown) that monsters were never real. The very monsters I could see, could smell.

Monsters whose fur caught on railings, leaving behind tufts that I collected each morning in a pillowcase.

One grows weary of not knowing when to believe the words pouring off one’s own tongue. Over time, one starts to prick one’s finger on every spinning wheel spindle out of spite and desperation.
Continue reading “Once Upon A Time”

Home Improvement Project

I’ve reached a weird space in recovery, where I can sense the old patterns of thought and the new, almost simultaneously. It’s like wiggling a switch with loose wiring: the lights flicker on/off, on/off, without the switch ever fully flipping to either one.

Teal_light_switch_8286690578_oOn—and I am flooded with an almost unbearable level of feelings, sharp and bright and overwhelming. Off—and the emotions are replaced with the sensation of razor blades, cutting deep into my forearms or thighs.

On—and I am filled with plans and goals for my future. Off—and I am certain I already wear a corpse.

On, off, on, off, on, off…

Nights are the worst. Nights are when the “on” thoughts are hardest to reach, and once reached, they feel almost unbelievable regardless.

I got badly triggered about a month ago and am still in the process of coming back to ground, which makes a “good night” anytime I sleep more than about 3 hours total. (I’ll leave it to you to imagine how soupy and unreal my days start to feel, after weeks of this.) When I went to bed last night—at a time actually already this morning—I tried to set an intention of committing to the “on” side. Felt more desperate wish than hopeful action; I’ve been here before, after all, and I am bone-tired in more ways than one.

BUT. Continue reading “Home Improvement Project”

Alice Writes An Angry Letter

Dear Random Man on the Street Who Kept Talking to Me Until I Finally Looked at Him,

Thanks so much for picking me out of a crowded sidewalk of people to talk to. I was moved, almost really!

I mean, it sounded like you recognized me from somewhere, with all that babbling “hey, how are you, hey sweetheart, how you been doing.” As if you wanted to check in on what’s been up with me since the last time we talked.

Or rather, since the last time you talked to any totally random woman on the street. Because one thing I’m sure we agree on: who I am beyond “woman” doesn’t matter in this interaction.

In case you were wondering: no, I didn’t think you were dangerous (unless it turned out you were). And no, I didn’t you were going to follow me (unless it turned out you did). And no, I didn’t feel sexually objectified by our encounter (unless we’re gonna count the fact that it is men—always and only—who make this kind of you-owe-me-your-attention-cuz-I-called-you-sweetheart move on women. Also always and only).

You say you wanna know how I’m doing?

So glad you asked! Continue reading “Alice Writes An Angry Letter”

The Cat and the Heat Wave

Nathan think I am lying to him about the weather.

He cannot believe that the air-conditioned bedroom is truly the only comfortable space in the apartment, and so, every few hours, he marches to the door and meows loudly, demanding access to the rest of his domain. Perhaps five minutes later, he meows loudly from the other side of the door, demanding to be allowed back in—hotter than when he left, and somehow more indignant as well.

nathan_disbelief
Nathan’s “What the hell, mom” face.

To be clear, I am just as pissed as the cat is about the heat. Almost as disbelieving, too, despite the fact that I am the only one in our shared home with access to weather reports, as well as the cognitive capacity for number sense.

Numbers which—if my sense is correct—hate me right now.

Just not as much as my cat does. Continue reading “The Cat and the Heat Wave”