Monday, April 03, 2006

Part of the Process

In a very real way, those few people who are my intimate friends are with me always. In my mind's eye, some part of them is always just a 1/2 a step within my reach. It is always as though if I made just 1/2 a step, just a 1/4 turn, I would find them there, waiting to be a part of every single experience large or small, public or private. Ready to share this laugh, that tiny sorrow, this interesting fact about something utterly inconsequential. Like when you are partners in a room of people, always acutely aware of where that other person is, who they are talking to, what sort of conversation they are having. Every now & then you share a glance & a smile that connects you more intimately than a kiss, and even as you have your own conversations with completely separate people, you are still a part of what is going on with them.

Removing someone from that place of intimacy within my self & my life is an exhausting process. Not only mentally, not just emotionally, but physically exhausting. One doesn't realize how many thousands upon thousands of thoughts you have in a single day, each one including - even if as a shadow of presence or possibility in the background - those intimate someones.

Now there is, wearily put back in place, a conscious trigger to edit every thought, every feeling, every nuance of possibility that crosses my path: Remove Them. "Oh, and then we could ... " remove them. "Ooh... what if we...." remove them. "Oh, of course we'll have to include..." remove them. "Ah, what a lovely day to share with..." remove them. "I want..." remove them. "I need..." remove them. "I wish..." remove them. "What if..." remove them. "They would think..." remove them. "Right now, they would be..." remove them. "Mmm... that breeze on my skin..." remove them. "What a funny thing, I'll share...." remove them. Every leaf on every tree that leaps out at me as such a beautiful green carries with it a need to remove them from that 1/4 step of sharing... because that is where they have been. That has where I have trusted enough to let them in & where they have belonged, where I am accustomed to feeling their presence... and where they have finally said they never felt they truly belonged, and where they do not want to be. They have chosen. In some way or ways I am not enough, I am lacking, once again and still insufficiently desirable. My pool of intimate friends is one lighter (becoming one lighter): they are no longer to be a soft comfort that silently cushions every harsh thing the world contains. Remove them.

My body, never sick, breaks down under this invisible effort. The tears I cry are not only an emotional release, an anguished cry into the universe, but are sometimes simply a signal of physical exhaustion. I ache. Physically. Sleeping is either a fitful thing or an utter collapse for a few minutes or a few hours. Muscles cramp here & there as I do mundane nothings, tiny physical wounds become great barriers to movement. My sinuses fill, making my head feel filled with cotton & my ears throb as though surf were pounding large volumes of angry waves into a small closed cave. I have lost my voice... literally! Hoarse as the day begins, by evening speaking is a mighty effort & I cannot imagine having to talk on the phone & hold meetings when tomorrow's work day comes. I could not answer the phone when it rang tonight because I had no voice to speak, and sitting at a chat window sounds like nothing so much as a way to torture my lower back. Dammit to every hell that was ever conceived... love removed, trust aborted, desire stuffed back into some lonely cavern where it can scream & not bother anyone but myself. It screams & screams until it has no voice left; still screaming in a silent rictus, but certainly not bothering anyone else. Don't bother anyone else. Kill desire along with all those other thoughts. Oh yes, you must kill desire too. Remove them.

My other intimate.... my intimate friends surround me, pick me up & when I cannot take another step on my own, they carry me into tomorrow. Even as I laugh into the daylight and fill the weekend with frenetic activity... even as we tell stories of times when life was good & happy & laugh in excellent company... even as I give & receive comforting touches, caresses, hugs: those essential physical manifestations of comfort and caring and love... even as these people who love me send waves upon waves of reassurance that they at least will be here for an eternity of tomorrows... even as someone I love sits with me in silence, keeping me company through parts of this wake and sharing an indulgence in tiny tubs of ice cream... even then, thousands upon thousands of edits: remove them. They are not here, this is not where they wish to be: remove them.

Grief is a physical process as much as it is an emotional passage, and I am fully aware that at some point this too, shall pass. The intensity of any sorrow never remains as it begins. After awhile you become numb to the constant flaying, those nerve endings of self unable to provoke the same exquisite pain: eventually it will hibernate & hide somewhere deep inside, coming out from time to time to surprize you when you weren't expecting it. Over time it will come upon you less often, perhaps only in intense moments, sometimes in infinitely soft sorrows... but it will no longer be this constant conscious thing that it is now. I know this, I have been here before. I know how long it takes to walk this shadow of death - I am all too familiar with every intimate step. I know this is not something you can run faster through - it only expands to fit you.

So I... (*%&$~!. I wish they were here, now, in my arms.

Remove them.


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