(i am hoping) jesus gods i am hoping i am hoping that it is just that you are busy that there isn’t some other reason “oops, it looks like his phone has been off/disconnected for awhile.”
we have been disconnected the last thing i know you saw of mine was thursday, even though i text you every day, almost. (i know you are busy. i am not complaining.)
six days ago. disconnected.
it will be five months since we’ve seen each other no longer am i worried it’s something i’ve done no more paranoia around that particularly fun attribute of my chemical rollercoaster no. you are a doctor. there is this virus.
This couple, older than I am, (not by so much that the differences are stark) this couple who is writing their next chapter successful, and snarky, and smart, cool, and kind, and a little kooky, warm, and funny, and genuine.
I am reminded that anything is possible.
Everything is possible.
I have seen glimpses of it, I know. had morsels of it. enough to whet my appetite. my palate has become more refined, my preferences both widening and narrowing in the same instant as i breathe in and out. embrace, joyfully discard with little fanfare. there is no value in overthinking what i leave behind no valuing the discarded take the lesson and move forward. that lesson alone, separating the signal from the noise, that in itself is such a heavy prospect right now but in other moments, (breathe, please. and again. once more. good girl.) such as this one, it seems thinkable, plausible possible.
i have left so much behind am leaving so much behind. what would carrying it forward do for me? cui bono? for surely i have long since paid for these crimes surely i am rehabilitated, getting there, anyway surely i am on the right path surely i am still going the right way.
it doesn’t have to all come with me (why does this feel like i’m convincing myself?) i can let it go (then why is there still so much left to sort through?) ((can you just?)) (((can you?)))
thousands of photographs, blurry and out of focus my life is out of focus, blurry and getting clearer more clear. more, focused. as the unimportant, the less-important, the extraneous as all this falls away is sloughed away given away pressed into other hands, joyfully, gleefully, even. no more guilt at not wanting to keep things no more guilt at the money spent the time spent the energy. spent.
even the idea of it (the idea!) the idea is lightening not lightning, l i g h t e n i n g .
Hopeful. Full of possibility.
by lightening the load both literal and metaphorical I am making room for new. Taking pieces of my armor, loosening them disarming. i have become disarming.
It is only because I can see the enemy enemies for what they are it is only since I have learned how to dance sidestepping and evading choosing who to embrace and who to deny it is only now that even in my most frantic moments, hours I do not doubt the loves I have. I know I am not needed, I know I am necessary.
I am reminded of possibility. I am open to possibility.
(i was afraid ((briefly)) that i would forget this, what i wanted to write needed needed to write but i was driving and i know how to remember things ((mostly you just keep repeating them looking into the middle distance (((idk if that’s a real thing but go with it))) and then it becomes a rhythm and then you can just remember)) )
i am not afraid anymore. i have faced the worst the absolute worst. i have heard the worst. i have dated the worst fucked the worst married the worst. i have been burned i have been raped i have been thieved. i have lived the worst i have died.
still, i rise.
i have done all these things and i have fucking FIRE in my heart and my brain and my lungs and i am not afraid of you. i am not afraid of you or anyone else.
i know what I am worth (do i? do i really, though?) I know what people tell me how people react to me how they are with me. I know that I can become single-minded super focused only to have my attention s c a t t e r scatter. I look up from my work sometimes (art writing a lover) I take a metaphorical step back to view the tableau refocus my attention to the ambient sounds of the room, i become subsumed by the overall pleasure of a job well done. knowing my value comes in being indispensable.
Knowing (knowing) knowing that in order to pay my way I must be indispensable, spectacular. galaxy class.
In my worst moments in moments like now it is in my worst moments that I can see the balance sheet Knowing (knowing) at the least sign of perceived imbalance I will be let go Not worth the hassle.
That when I am feeling most stable When I really do believe what I say over and over about being a badass. a rising Phoenix. That the love and caretaking I am worthy of is mine to take and is plentiful if I only believe That I am not too much. That I am not too intense.
that i can command, demand, and not settle.
I have nothing to hide anymore Anyone who cares, I have nothing to hide.
This different kind of imposter syndrome, what would you call it? nothing reliable, nothing real no sure footing feeling fake all the time, having to adjust my face, my mask
The thing that most gets me through is knowing (this tiny, blurry, hazy beacon in the fog) knowing that it will indeed end, that it will shift because it always does. not always for the better and many times for the much, much worse But change, indeed, will happen. Change always (eventually) for the good for the evolution for the revolution. let go or be dragged.
I am long enough into this diagnosis, my clinical history starred and asterisked and underlined drugs and cocktails of drugs given and discarded I am long enough into this life to know that I am a compliant patient. I am long enough into this life to know my own body, and what feels right for it. I have never misunderstood the importance of taking all the medicine. Following the directions. Being a good girl. but what happens when you do everything right, when you do everything you are supposed to do and still nothing works? When you “soldier on” as opposed to what? You wait patiently for spring, then summer to end. You lean on your friends, your lovers as much as you think they can stand always risking oversharing, overeverything reaching the point where it is your literal life on the line and you are Depending on
I can barely breathe for the tension I feel not wanting to overstay my welcome not wanting to overwhelm others as I am completely overwhelmed the noise in my head is unending
the thing that keeps me here the knowing that it will shift that it will change that it won’t always be like this. Until it is again.
flooded. finally flooded. amnesia haze i am in an amnesia haze. username checks out. five stars. 10/10 would recommend. i know that there isnt much left in the bowl and i will have to go inside to get more. to feel better. more. right now just enjoying the evening sounds rain from the last downpour in the downspout birds settling in for the night the neighborhood quieting my brain quieting.
i should go back inside, fill the bowl. always ready.
I am so tired of wanting and wanting and wanting. I am so tired holding my own hands and hugging my ownself. I am so tired of being exhausted at the thought of cooking a meal for one person. I am so tired of all of the things that I am supposed to be doing filling my head to the exclusion of all else almost all the time. I am so tired of the noise. I am so tired of being woken up in the middle of the night by my own sadness. I am so tired of being so tired.
I want things. I want to not be so tired. I want to not worry about all of the things all of the time. I want to see a request for penpals in a nursing home in North Carolina and not burst into tears at the thought that that will be me someday, alone in a nursing home, begging for a penpal. That everything about me will be written on a piece of poster board, begging for a pen pal. “Lysa loves cats, existential conversation, the color purple, and monster trucks. Won’t you please write to her? Please?” the hopeful smile on my face plastered there for so long (no one wants to be friends with a mean old lady so i smile) no matter how hard it is no matter how alone i am, have been.
I am so tired. I am tired of knowing that as much as everything is already crashing down around me that it will only get worse for the ignoring of it, the putting off of everything possible and many things that are not
i am so tired of faking pleasantry and ease i am exhausted dodging “how are YOU???” sidestepping directly into “what can i do for you today?” avoiding, bobbing, weaving slipping out from under the hammer of HOW ARE YOU. my extended silence and thrumming tears not enough of a delicacy for some HOW ARE YOU . i’ve said this before, my pain must be delicious. michelin quality. galaxy class.
I don’t know, how I don’t know how it got to be a thousand days since you’ve died.
A thousand four days. How?
I don’t know, I don’t know how that happened. But I know that I’ve missed you every fucking day. And I just… it’s only and already two years and nine months tomorrow and I just keep talking to you, I just keep talking to you. I keep talking to you because I don’t know how else to, not.
We always talked. About everything. We did that really well, talking. Sometimes not so nice. But we always talked.
So now what, do I just ask questions at the air? Do I just keep doing what I’ve been doing and uh, keep talking to you this way, writing, and…
I found pictures of you. Well, Brian found them in the attic. I’ve never seen these pictures of you before. There’s a really hot one.
What I am about to say I don’t say lightly. I can only describe this as a completely surreal and supernatural experience. I don’t know what to do and I think I’m losing my mind. I mean I know I’m not I just don’t know how to explain it.
I am not superstitious. I am the least woo-woo person you will ever meet. Yes indeed, I sure as shit am an absolutely fucking magical creature myself, but I am not superstitious. (These things can coexist. It’s pure energy.) I don’t believe in shit like that. Spooks, ghosts, psychics. None of it. I have written here exactly how I don’t believe any of that shit.
Today, my best friend, my soul sister, Paula, and I were up in the attic at the house I’m losing, pulling out the last things that I want to take with me. Making sure there’s nothing left behind that I don’t want to one day accidentally see in a dumpster. The Governor was on (day 100? or is it 101?), his calming voice filling the blisteringly hot attic. I was feeling really good about the things that I was pulling out of boxes, things that I was setting aside to give away, things that I was setting aside to keep. I opened up the box and saw the familiar shape of a black CaseLogic CD holder. It was a big one, and there was a half size one underneath it, and a shiny purple one beneath that, with a sticker of a red corset with garters on the front. I opened up that one, it held a bunch of CDs that I used to play over the speakers in my shop. I hated listening to the radio, hated commercials. “Store Mix 11.12.2003” (some mixtape CD I’d put together, check that out later) and Soul Coughing and some Dick’s Picks and tons of others I squeed over when seeing. Knowing I would probably want to keep most of those, I picked up the big CaseLogic one to sort through. I was partway through the ancient printer drivers and font collections when I gasped. There was a CD I’ve never seen before. One that said, “Gary 🖤’s Lysa”. No case, no liner notes. Just his handwriting.
I knew then that I would have to sort through them all in order to take only the ones I wanted with me. I showed Paula the CD, her eyes lit up and she smiled hugely and said “That’s cool!” My plan was to play it on the way up to the pottery, it would be my soundtrack.
(the way that I know 100% for sure that I have never seen this CD before, that I’ve never listened to it, is because when we moved into this house, he read me a poem that he had written. He was hesitant to read it to me because, as he said, it “wasn’t a very nice love poem.” It began with the words, “I love you mostly much.” And that’s all I remember of it. I don’t remember any of the rest and I have been looking for it for as long as he has been dead.)
If I had had any idea, if I had had any wisp of a thought that there would be somewhere, in this house, physical proof of how he actually felt about me? I found the copy of Shakespeare’s sonnet 145 that he typed out for me and folded into an origami envelope. I showed you that, here. I showed you. Proof.
I loaded myself into the car, heading up to the pottery. I popped the CD in and waited.
(I am the type of person to always play everything on shuffle. My brain, everything in my life is on shuffle all of the time. I am chaotic neutral, chaotic good if you must but I am chaotic. Everything is always on shuffle.)
Not this time.
My husband was nothing if not methodical, determined, deliberate. Every single thing he ever did in his entire life was deliberate, The good, the bad, and most definitely the ugly. if he made a playlist for me it was with absolute and explicit intent for it to be listened to in the order in which he created it. So listen I did.
curvy guitar fills the cabin of the car, What’s Your Name. Okay. So. They’re problematic for a host of reasons, but I did have a blacklight Skynyrd poster in my bedroom growing up, Confederate flag in the background of the poster. I didn’t even see it for what it was (I also watched The Dukes of Hazzard) I just liked the music. If I saw it now, I would torch it. I had somewhat of an urge to forward through to the next song, but I didn’t. I just listened.
More curvy guitar. Without checking, I would venture to bet that the guitar in question is a Rickenbacker. I Know A Little. Again, controversial Skynyrd, but the lyrics are starting to poke at me.
I know a little about it I know a little ’bout love And baby I can guess the rest.
Okay, still not forwarding through to rush to the end, simply listening and playing and absorbing.
(this is where the screaming starts.)
I want you to want me I need you to need me I’d love you to love me. Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you crying? Feeling all alone without a friend, you know you feel like dying Oh didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you crying?
I was driving, heading north to the pottery, heading north to see what my new pieces would look like, pieces that I had made with partners in mind. Pieces that I had mended and had crossed fingers, eyes, and tails hoping they would stay unbroken.
My fingers dug into the steering wheel as my mouth opened in a silent scream that quickly gave way to one that filled the cabin. Tears flooded my eyes, hot and salty, smearing my glasses. I kept listening.
In this life I’ve seen everything I can see woman I’ve seen lovers flying through the air Hand in hand and I’ve seen dreams that came from the heavenly skies above I’ve seen old men crying at their own grave sides And I’ve seen pigs all sitting watching picture slides But I never seen nothin’ like you Do you, do you want my love, woman Do you, do you want my face, I need it! Do you, do you want my mind, I’m saying it! Well I think you know what I’m trying to say woman I’ve seen enough of the world to know That I’ve got to get it all to get it all to grow…
Electric Light Orchestra
The thoughts that filled my head were completely untenable. I was becoming unmoored and unable to do anything but keep driving. Unable to do anything but hold that steering wheel as tightly as I could for fear of letting go. Fear of letting go of the steering wheel and what would happen if I did. Unbelieving as to what I was hearing, what was happening. I knew exactly who I wanted to tell, needed to tell, possibly the only person who could understand exactly how I was feeling, knowing that I needed to remember everything exactly as it was happening so that I could write it all down here. because while I have no explanation, no rational, logical, useful explanation, I know that it was happening and that it was happening to me and that it was happening right now.
Something that sounds like chamber music now fills the air. More ELO.
I was searching on a one-way street I was hoping for a chance to meet I was waiting for the operator on the line (She’s gone so long) What can I do? (Where could she be?) Don’t know what I’m going to do I got to get back to you You got to slow down, sweet talkin’ woman You got me runnin’, you got me searchin’ Hold on, sweet talkin’ lover It’s so sad if that’s the way it’s over I was walking, many days go by I was thinking about the lonely nights Communication breakdown all around…
At this point, there is no sound other than the music that fills the car and my own screaming. I am shaking and crying and screaming I’m driving as hard as I can to just get there. To get to safety and to the hug I desperately need.
(you all understand where I’m going with this, don’t you? The completely absurd and surreal and wholly supernatural ((and when I say supernatural I mean completely inexplicable as yet)) I don’t even know what to call it)
I do believe in you And I know you believe in me And now we realize Love’s not all that it’s supposed to be.
WHAT. THE. FUCK.
And knowing that you would have wanted it this way
I do believe I'm feelin' stronger everyday.
I know we really tried
Together we had love inside
So now the time has come
For both of us to live on the run.
After what you've meant to me
I can make it easily
(yeah, yeah, yeah) ((sarcasm mine))
I know that we both agree
Best thing to happen to you
The best thing that happened to me.
Feelin' stronger every day.
roaring in pain and sadness and rage and fury and WHY
Piano, then trumpet.
Saturday in the Park I think it was the Fourth of July. People dancing, people laughing A man selling ice cream Sing Italian songs Eh cumpari, ci vo sunari Can you dig it (yes I can) And I’ve been waiting such a long time.
Yes. Yes I have. I have been waiting such a long time. I’ve been waiting such a long time for this proof. (no, not proof of an afterlife, not proof of him talking to me from beyond the grave but honestly I have no idea what’s happening but this, this is proof.)
Proof of how much he felt about me. Proof of how much he loved me. Concrete physical proof. Not something bought; something made. Something he created just for me. Continue listening.
What’s new, pussycat, whoa Pussycat, pussycat, I’ve got flowers And lots of hours to spend time with you So go and powder your cute little pussycat nose Pussycat, pussycat, I love you, yes I do Pussycat, pussycat, you’re so thrilling And I’m so willing to care for you so go and make up your big little pussycat eyes Pussycat, pussycat, I love you, yes I do.
So now my face is not pulled into a rictus of fear and unknowing and instead has this silly, slightly stoned-looking grin on it. Still listening.
Sexbomb. Just going to leave that there.
More piano. Basic drums. Dirty guitar.
It’s not in the way that you hold me It’s not in the way you say you care It’s not in the way you’ve been treating my friends It’s not in the way that you stayed till the end It’s not in the way you look or the things that you say that you’ll do Hold the line Love isn’t always on time.
do I pull the car over? Do I pull the car over because I don’t know that I can hold on any more.
It's not in the words that you told me It's not in the way you say you're mine It's not in the way that you came back to me It's not in the way that your love set me free. Hold the line. Love isn't always on time.
My brain feels like it is on fire at this point. I am trying to compose this piece that I am now writing while I am driving 65, 75, 85 miles an hour. I am overwhelmed with everything and trying to ask questions to the air because that’s all there is in here. Air and sound.
And though I know about all those men Still I don’t remember ‘Cause it was us baby, way before them And we’re still together And I meant every word I said When I said that I love you I meant That I love you forever And I’m going to keep on loving you ‘Cause it’s the only thing I want to do I don’t want to sleep I just want to keep on loving you.
I love you. I love you so goddamn much and I miss you every goddamn day and WHERE ARE YOU
STILL LISTENING. (there is a slowdown on 17; I have since rolled up the windows so that I can blast the music and scream as needed)
From my heart and from my hand Why don’t people understand My intentions. Plastic tubes and pots and pans Bits and pieces and Magic from the hand We’re makin’ Magic and technology Voodoo dolls Electricity we’re makin’ Fantasy and microchips Shooting from the hip Something different we’re makin’ Pictures from a magazine Diagrams and charts Mending broken hearts and makin’ Something like a recipe…
Okay. I get it. You’re here. You’re telling me in no uncertain terms that you are here. Okay. WHAT the FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THIS INFORMATION???
Drumbeats. Are you fucking kidding me.
Color me your color, baby Color me your car Color me your color, darling I know who you are Come up off your color chart I know where you’re coming from Call me, on the line Call me, call me any, any time Call me, I’ll arrive You can call me any day or any night Call me.
I spot movement on the rolled up passenger window, I look in disbelief at what’s crawling up the glass. A bee. You know, like the one that’s tattooed on my arm. Like my nickname for my husband. Bumblebee.
Call me. Okay. Not with a fucking bee in the car. I roll down the window, watch the bee hang on for dear life, pretty impressive if I’m being honest (which I am), and finally at some point, it disappears. I am unworried that it might have ended up inside the car as I don’t think it’s going to bother me. Call me. Jesus.
One way or another, I'm going to find ya.
Even though the lyrics to this song are on the creepy side truth be told, this is comfort to me. I am just going wholesale into believing that whatever is happening is happening.
I know this is long. Trust me, the hour that I took to drive was one of the longest hours I’ve ever spent.
I’m lying here on the floor where you left me I think I took too much I’m crying here, what have you done?
And it’s here, at this point in this truly bonkers narrative that a bizarre screeching noise begins to come out of my speakers. The song is making me really unhappy, not in the same way that the rest of the songs made me unhappy but in a truly unhappy way. The screeching is getting worse, and I hit the off button. Just like that, the cabin is silent except for my own ragged breathing. I look around briefly to try to make sure that the bee is no longer in the car, I turn up the air conditioner, I know my face is red and puffy but I don’t care. I wait a minute or so, until I have cooled down. I turn the stereo back on, and forward to the next song.
I’m a loser And I’m not what I appear to be Of all the love I have won and have lost There is one love I should never have crossed She was a girl in a million my friend…
Shaking. Still listening.
At this point in my drive I am way up in the wilds of Ulster County where the cellular service is terrible and GPS isn’t much better. “St. Louis Blues Jam” by The Beatles comes on. It’s a soft little pleasant interlude type of thing. I tried several times to get SoundHound to figure out what it is, and I can’t. It had to wait until I was home. I am almost to the pottery at this point and I am wondering how many more songs are on this mix.
Soft acoustic guitar and the telltale sounds of a record popping in the background. Our song. Blackbird.
Tears are streaming freely down my face at this point and I am just smiling with the insanity of it all, grinning like an idiot. As I see the final landmark, a sign on the right side of the road that says “Welcome to Dwaarkill, God’s country” the song is ending. I hit my turn signal to pull up the drive and the last few notes of the song echo through the cabin, blackbirds singing the distance.