My love, sometimes the train stops unexpectedly.
You move at a steady pace for a while. You get used to the rhythm, the noise, the velocity. But even the most stable and well-adjusted trains end up stopping.
And as all the cargo of your past comes crashing from behind you and the momentum of your expectations freeze to the needle’s eye view of the present with all its attending sharpness, you wonder if it was just a spacial illusion anyway. You could have been standing still the whole time. Maybe it was the world outside that was moving all along.
Was that what it was like for you sometimes? So much progress feeling like so little?
I’ve been organizing. Metaphorically. Literally. Found myself having plans for the future, a set and sense of possibilities for the next year, even farther on… and even more than that, talking about them with hope and expectation. Then cleaning off my desk, sorting through old papers that have been stacking up for the last year and a half.
I stumbled across and reread the autopsy report again. With different eyes (because they are so, so different than the ones you used to look into) I read how they made a stranger take you all apart. You and I knew each other so intimately, and now… now I know how much your organs weighed, what they found when they cut you up. Measurements and pronouncements, but not the answers I wanted. Not really. The grotesque knowledge of the weight of your heart weighs on mine.
It’s so strange what puts us over the edge. Never what you expect.
For me it wasn’t the report, it was the receipts. Hundreds of receipts I’d hoarded that were suddenly not financial records, but proof of our days – more substantial in my hands than my memories – all the stupid and beautiful details. Things I bought to make us dinner. Receipts from our last vacation. Movie and concert tickets. Doctor’s office receipts. Receipts from a middle of the night trip. Silly things we splurged on. Dates printed in fading ink, handfuls upon handfuls of them like brittle leaves from a long dead tree. And I think, “I had this.” Not the things we bought, not the pieces of paper, but those days – we had those. Such short and precious time.
I remember, even during the most mundane of errands, and every car ride, you would hold my hand.
I dreamed of you last week. I couldn’t reconcile the way it felt like so long since we had seen each other, spent time together. I tried to express this indefinable hurt , my needs, in my eyes. You pulled me aside from the dream nonsense and said, “Don’t you know how much you mean to me?” I said, “No.” Because I wanted to hear you tell me.
Even things I think are distractions have become secret agents. Or am I just less capable of being distracted? I feel that I’m being more and more stripped down, more vulnerable, more capable of seeing connections. Or maybe I’m subconsciously choosing these distractions-that-aren’t, that actually turn into deeper engagement. It hurts like hell. I cry so easily, at all sorts of things. I’m Alice in the hallway of locked doors waiting to see where the river of tears is going to take me.
The monument of your death has gotten no smaller. I’ve just gotten more used to waking up to it every day and learning to live in the shade of it. A permanent part of my landscape. And the more its presence changes me, the less I am able to hate it.
But still, my love, sometimes the train stops. And my overabundance of perspective caves in on itself.
Yet… not even Orpheus could save Eurydice.
Whatever good becomes of me is because of you.