1142p 11th december 2021

this late at night
at this time of year
there are some very dark stretches of route nine heading north to home
so dark that i could turn off my headlights

and disappear

there are very few other cars
no lights
i could drift into nothingness
brightness

then black.
Nothing.

the road ahead opens its maw
promising to swallow me whole.
it could be done.
Over.

this void within my chest swells
my brain reels

this is a thing I know, now, filed away.

letters from the past. 9th february 2018

dear j.

sorry I missed your call yesterday; Penny was here, helping me get Gary’s computer sorted (well, preliminary steps, anyway; she’s got more research to do) to get it connected back to the server. The one password he didn’t store in LastPass is the root password, because obviously that, his phone password, and his LastPass password were the only ones he needed to remember to unlock everything. She’ll be able to get sudo access though, and from there, be able to reset the server. She was able to open a terminal though (zshell) and it was a beautiful thing watching his code populate the screen once again. I happen to know that his code is streamlined and super-concise; no obfuscation, no mess, but it was heartwarming to get confirmation of that from another Linux user.

I gave her three of his most favored coding books; Beautiful Data, Beautiful Code, and I can’t remember the last but she was like “are you sure? These are really expensive”. Yes, I’m sure. They’re in good, useful hands now.

the seventh day. 13th september 2017/2021

I never heard your voice again that last day, today.

By now (8:18am) you had already had a stroke, you were already being prepped for neurosurgery. I never heard your wonderful, delicious, boomy voice that day again, today. That voice, when it was being clever and kind, I could listen to for hours. The last time I heard your voice, a few hours earlier as I was leaving your bedside for some sleep, it was pure and true and you told me you loved me and I take that with me into Oblivion.

I have the words you wrote to me, I have the texting we were doing about the kitties, about your anticipated relief from the meds they gave you every day to soothe your terror, I told you that “they will, my love.” You did not tell me about the stroke. You saved me from that. You gave me the most selfless gift of not having to worry when worry wouldn’t help.

I know that the last words of mine that you saw were that I was coming to you and that I would see you when you got back. I have that unbelievably beautiful post that you put on Facebook that morning. I didn’t know then that these would be your last words. You were so concerned with last words you had a whole book of them on your side of the bed. You didn’t want to end up like Pancho Villa.¹

I know the last words of mine that you heard were from my mouth to yours, to your ear, my head on your chest, your hand in mine. I know you heard me because the doctor told me you could hear me. I told you you were safe, that you were loved, that you were okay. That everyone was working on you to help and that you were okay. That you were still going the right way and that I would see you soon. That I wasn’t going anywhere. I told you that I loved you. I told you that I loved you. I told you that I loved you.

I am posting this to you directly because I want certain people see it. I want to know (even though I won’t) that certain people are aware of what today is, that certain people are thinking about you.

Of course I won’t know. Of course I know that that part is a useless, useless exercise and one that will not bring me any joy. I know that that part is petty and small. And still I feel the need to do it. Perhaps someday I won’t. I believe your memory deserves to be cherished in a way that perhaps your life was not.

I have been learning how to exorcise from my life the things that do not serve me. I have been learning how to be more patient. I think you would be amazed. Truly. And yet I don’t do these things to amaze you, I do them because I am finding my way towards happiness, for truly the first time ever.

I know that every breath you ever took in and exhaled is still out there in the air, circling and eddying and dissipating and coming together again.

I know that the electricity that powered the supercomputer that was your brain and that faulty thing that was your heart is still reverberating out here in the ether, in here, inside me. I know that the ashes and broken bits of bone and teeth that I have on my bookshelves, in the room where I spend most of my time aren’t indicative of who you were, that even at their most concrete, these remains are the most ethereal ones.

Things are still so hard. The pain is getting easier to bear. I have people who love me who are helping to ease the weight. There are times when I feel you in the room with me, when I am transported for a moment, and it is comforting.

There is so much I have to tell you; so many things I need to say. So much I need for you to hear.

I am learning so much.
I need to tell you everything.

bisous,

glitter

¹ https://truewestmagazine.com/article/the-lie-of-villas-last-words/

four years/forty years

Last year I turned off Facebook memories for 2017-2018-2019 for this week beginning today. Today is the beginning of the end. Today is the beginning of the last week that Gary was alive.

So much in my life has changed in the last four years. I am not the same person who I was four years ago. I am not the same person I was forty years ago.

Forty years ago is when my bipolar disorder began to truly manifest in ways that other people could see. When my behavior became outwardly observable. Things that only I could see and feel and experience from age five were finally coming to the surface. The person that I grew into, the person that I became was by necessity, a damaged, broken, angry, fearful thing. I was shaped by my experience, by the storms inside my brain that no one could understand, but the results of which everyone could see.

The person that Gary met, she was a powerhouse. She had divorced her first and second husbands. She was taking care of her cats. She was running her own shop, she had an employee, she was working a lot. She was working out a lot. She was taking care of everything around her. She was not taking healthy self care.

She was, however, manic 24/7 and hella cute and driven.
And on fire.

She is still here, in my brain, part of The Committee. She listens mostly. Doesn’t have much to say anymore, more an observer. She sits back and nods knowingly, joint in hand, smoke curling from her lips. She is Rosie Revisited, captured in a portrait, hanging on my wall. There are times when she does speak, a forceful, if gentle “STOP IT.” I have evidence.

your author. 📷 Gary Hoffman 2002

Four years ago I was forced to stop. I became incapable of movement in any appreciable direction. The formerly driven, push-through-ahead-no-matter-how-miserable-it-makes-you person could not go any further. The “attack wife” had no fight left. I had no accountability to any other human. There was no one there for better or for worse. My life spun completely and totally out of control. I lost things, am losing things I can never get back. And yet…

I have found a new self, a calmer, more even self. I am finding the capacity for euthymia, for a happy evenness above my emotional equator. A firm-yet-squishy pleasantness that exists beyond the edges of what I smoke and carries me through the day and into my involvements with others.

I am no longer miserable.

In voicing this thought, however, there is such exquisite pain for the reality that Gary could have been helped. That perhaps he too could have finally found some measure of relief, as I have. That we just hadn’t gotten here yet in researching. That given enough time, we would have.

We didn’t have enough time. But I do.

I miss you so much.
I wish you could see me now.
I wish you could hear me now.
I wish I could talk to you.
The only thing you can do is listen.

And all I really want is to hear what you have to say.

1042a 8th august 2021, sunday

I forgive you.
I forgive you for everything.

I did not think it would ever be possible
but in this moment
bells ringing
birds singing
breezy air soft and comforting around me
there is no benefit to questioning any longer
it doesn’t matter

none of the things we said or did to one another matter now
none of the hurtful things, anyway.
you are no longer here to protest and I am too tired to do so any longer.
easier to let go

let go or be dragged.

listen, here: https://recorder.google.com/share/5161f077-5e7b-401b-9b15-565e53ccc52f

758a wednesday july 2021

I had to walk back to the counter and put the glass down so I wouldn’t crush it.

I had to not look, because it would have killed you if I had.

I had to walk away and you kept pushing me to stay.

I got angrier, and angrier, and angrier and still you pushed me to stay.

I walked away, walked up the hill, walked through the door.
Closed it behind me.
Sat down.
Screamed and screamed and screamed.

I can’t do this.
I can’t do this, I told you I can’t do this.
And still you pushed me to stay.

I don’t ever need reminding of all of the things that I have done that are my fault that are causing me pain I don’t ever need reminding.

The noise in my head is a constant loop of every single thing I have ever done wrong ever that is constantly causing me pain and shame.

It is going to be a long road back.

I see you, out in the world

I see you, out in the world
flickers of you, flashes of you.
I see your hands on other people’s bodies
I see your shape, under the wrong face
hints of your smile, your wink, your dimples
oh, those dimples.
I see these different parts of you,
I see

you/not you
I wonder what you would be doing if it was me who died
If it was you who was left behind to cope.
Where would you be, in all of this mess?
How would you be?

Who, even.

I saw a man in a red pickup truck behind me last night, driving home.
A man who had a long, scraggly grey beard underneath your mouth.
your hands on his steering wheel
(your truck was blue; I never saw you in it)

the other day I looked up from my desk and saw the body I used to hug
it took every ounce of willpower to not stand up and walk over to not you.

you got one life, blaze on. 11 march 2021.

¹ “blaze on” by phish

clear, warm(ish) night, listening to music over headphones, productive day, visiting with some of my favorite people and meeting new ones. there’s some stuff rolling around in my brain; I’ve said some, but it seems too harsh, too cold to say, but it’s true.

my husband died and I was able to become who I am now.
he died so that i could live.

I can barely even say the words without wanting to smack my own face in horror, but it’s true.

I think I’ve said it out loud to maybe three people, each time thinking my own skeleton will exit my skin when I say it. I feel like I am daring myself to remain conscious, like maybe I’m dreaming.
I’m not dreaming.

I mean this is horrible shit, right? I’ll tell you something else truly terrible: on more than one occasion but fewer than ten, I confided to best girlfriends that

fuck this this is terrible.

“…no place to go but everywhere…” ²

I’d said to these women, these women all married like me, in various states of dysfunction in their own marriages and relationships, all bent and dented and damaged and nearly broken. Like me.

“…I’ve been waiting for you, in sunshine and rain… won’t you look at you now, you mad molecule…” ³

oh gods.
Oh gods.

“The problem is all inside your head, she said to me
The answer is easy if you take it logically
I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free…
…it grieves me so to see you in such pain
I wish there was something I could do to make you smile again
I said I appreciate that and would you please explain
About the fifty ways” ⁴

goddammit.

I’d said to these women wtf knows how long before he died
“If he could just be gone. I don’t want him to hurt, I don’t want him to die. I don’t want anything bad for him, not pain, not suffering. I just want to stop being in so much pain.”

and now he is and now I am. Now I am

I am becoming something more than I thought I could.
I would like the dissenting voices to kindly shut the fuck up, please and thank you.

“…I just want to say I love you
And make sure you feel it every day
’cause if today had been my last chance
It’s just something I wanted to say…” ⁵

I feel like you know,
in this way that my tenses and my conversations are still fucked up three and a half years in
I feel like you know
like you see
Tonight, especially. Now.
Like right the fuck now jesus fuck.

“Well I don’t mind sleeping alone
If it means I don’t have to play your crazy games no more
You’re the most precious thing I’ve ever seen
But I ain’t gonna let it slide when you’re mean to me
I know the love that I deserve…” ⁶

Deserve is a word I take issue with.
Earned is better.

I know, but I don’t really know.

¹ https://open.spotify.com/track/2f26s2OTd5PospyTITUR0n?si=RHDDOjtxRiqb-_hFCFs0aA&utm_source=copy-link

² https://open.spotify.com/track/0ErpHxNt1kTyCQGlh43wr1?si=0J9etAiGQ1uDfhNc4TJnAg&utm_source=copy-link

³ https://open.spotify.com/track/0lhou8W3tdUpLBwEEVpO4s?si=eX_u-E_VTki88NpRpYF1Qw&utm_source=copy-link

https://open.spotify.com/track/2fFfb1YL9Qx0EYx6jnVXON?si=o3ToLSEwQqeHgI_V2vgsrg&utm_source=copy-link

https://open.spotify.com/track/54rQxr2XJZ4vf0mRyGsqAo?si=T6QCJ3DvRk2wJEPJdSv2xg&utm_source=copy-link

https://open.spotify.com/track/646NxfLugCOxvB8V2bpHu2?si=ksNzleLdSDuWglnSGGomtA&utm_source=copy-link

1130a 31st february 2021. the impossible day.

i have seen the edge.
walked right up to it, lookedover.
i have looked into the abyss and it welcomed me.
its maw is deep and wide
and it welcomed me.
come, it said.
step over the edge.
or don’t
but i am here for you when no one else is. i will wait for you.
I know you will be back.

teeth bright and sharp
white and cold.
keep hold of what’s good.
that’s all there is to save me
that’s all there is
flashes of all the good things

grasping at anything to pull me back from this edge.
grasping at them
smashing them into my brain
shoving out this other
look away. look away.