Cocooned in housecleaning. Sleeping odd hours, eating mostly fruit and the occasional boiled egg. L. used to call boiled eggs “writer food”- require little attention for preparation, can be eaten with one hand so as to type with the other.
I slip his shirts from the hangers in the closet with a feeling that can best be described as surreal. They seem more worn off of his body; I can see the years, the sulfur washes, the abrasions and sun-streaks leeched from the fabric as I fold and stuff them with a sink of heart into a black trash bag. The shirt he married me in, turquoise paint dried on the cuff. The awful free store Christmas sweater vest. The blue paisley shirt I gave him for his birthday, when we still lived in the Unitarian shelter and sang happy birthday to him tucked under an informational hut on the dock in the rain, one candle barely holding lit in the center of a still mostly-frozen foodstamps cupcake.
Aftershock in my head, a whirring white noise pressure prone to suddenly flood with almost unbearable pain. Heartbreak flowers everywhere: his handwriting on a scrap of paper, his mail delivered here, beneath the bed tennis shoes warped to the peculiarities of his flat feet, gold fabric wings woven into the laces.
As if this is not enough, there are also blue Priuses, cigarettes, the ashtray on the porch still holding butts from the post-storm telephone conversation I held with him, the other him, over a cup of chilling coffee and too many cigarettes, when I still felt certain of his love, potential, the possible cocooned and ugly-transforming in the tight tuck of the impossible. I placed the first-and-last-and-only letter he sent me in the same box with pictures and letters from L., along with therapeutic rec printouts and my hospital bracelet. What a summer.
I am in post-survival fall-out, adrenalyn slow-draining to leave me now fatiuged and heavy. It seems impossible today to get out of my pajamas. I am trying to be kind to myself. I am masturbating too much, reading silly psychoanalytic novels about dirty shrinks, relying too heavily on bagged grapes. I feel simultaenously oddly centered, sometimes sharply hopeful and energetic, others overwhelmed with grief. I’m attempting to smoke less, to drink less coffee, to force myself to move.
But I am moving, pajamas and post-crisis dead weight or not. Caught in the slip-stream of sudden shocking loss. Or the revelation of sudden shocking loss. I suppress sudden urges to go to the back porch and call for him- where the fuck are you? Where the fuck are you? Five years of too-close and no-room and now we are lost in the vaccuum growing between us. And still I fear him. And still I want indefinite and impermeable space.
Uncertainty. “The process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay.” And even so I know that through and past the ugly molt, the culling of clothing and pictures and heart and want, I will be or be becoming someone more closely aligned with my own true rhythm of movement, expansive, embracing, unafraid.