Sunday, July 14, 2013

Losing Time

Nothing is like I thought it would be. When your mother dies, the pain should be sharp and clear and focussed. It should be ever-present. It should be filled with regret, at the things you did not do, at what she had to suffer, at how long she was alone, in that condition, at the fact that she drove herself to hospital when she was having a heart attack, at the fact that you didn't just move in with her way way before, so you could have done something, helped her...

Instead, it's like my mind has split into a million shards; each separate and distinct from the other. I pick up a book, I put it down. I pile books next to my broken bookshelf, the one she broke, the one I yelled at her for breaking, the one I will never forgive myself for yelling at her for breaking. I wrote this in the letter I put in her coffin.

And then, there was nothing. Her body removed from the house, buried in that plot, piled with stones and flowers.

Her spirit absent in a way that beggars description.

I always thought I would feel her here around me somehow. Someone who was so present could never be this absent.

But was she?

Hadn't she spent all those years dying? Trying desperately to hold on, as she grew weaker and weaker, everything hurting and yet worrying about us, not letting go, praying her "Prayers of Power" for all the things that could go wrong, did go wrong.

And after it all, it was like she had been dead for years.

All those years she spent dying; all those years she had been alive; all those years.

And I just wanted to get away. Selfish, self-contained, not wanting to be around anyone who reminded me of this great big nothingness that had grown up inside me. This great big emptiness that has always been at the centre of me. Except now I touch its edges, I dive into the hollow black.

And I'm dead.

But like her, I pretend to be alive.

Except that I'm not doing such a great job. I keep forgetting stuff. Like to request a photographer for an important interview until it's too late. Like calling a friend to tell her, I made the appointment she was so insistent I make...that I couldn't come with her, but please, this is the address, if you really need to, go yourself, and deal with whatever you have to deal with and tell me afterwards. After I have painfully strung together words, racing against deadline, except that I race like a snail, a tortoise, a worm...thoughts scattered as the spawn of Satan, without agency, without urgency, without interest.

I keep losing time.

I look around and it's an hour later.

And then two hours.

And then three.

I shrug helplessly and go on contemplating the dust stacked in corners, the absurd mess I live in the midst off.

I need to gather, to arrange, to focus. And I will. Tomorrow. Maybe. Write a to-do list. Forget what I was going to say midway. Let the notebook fall from my hand. Send out the questions I was supposed to send out last week, or the week before. Maybe. To whom? I've forgotten.

Pick up that darn book again. Maybe today I'll finish it instead of picking up another one and another and another because my mind floats outside my body and my eyes, my dry eyes refuse to focus on anything.

And God, the sky is empty and my mother is gone and you?

And God, I wish I could come home to me again. I can't go home to home again because when she left, my home blew up, shattered, and most days I don't remember this, and most days I don't cry, and most days I'm not even sad.

And most days I feel nothing...and maybe that's preferable to the dark that hasn't penetrated any of the layers I've sewn up around me.

People are kind. They love me. I try to love them. But when you're a shadow, you can't love. There is nothing in you to hook a feeling and make it real. Do you know what I'm saying? Do you? Do you?

Do you understand?

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