This is the longer, and I mean longer version of a previous post about loss.
I used to be scared of the idea of loss.
Now? I still am. But surely the fear of the understandable is more reassuring than that which isn't. Although the fear of the knowable is scarier than the unknown.
Because now that you know, you know it exists.
Before all of this - before the curious line of dying has separated us - I used to be scared, all the time. I'd be scared when I laughed, I'd be scared when I cried, I'd especially be scared during those times when I'd look at your face, marvel at the possibility of your existence, and for just a split second, admit to myself that you won't always.
Exist, I mean. Of course, if you asked me to answer whether the value of existence is in the present or in the past, I'd argue that existence isn't something so trifle that it would become meaningless once someone dies.
But then, that time, when I'd look at you, and imagine that you'd no longer be here, how could I tell the difference of existence and... being there, when it hurt me so bad that I couldn't think straight anymore?
I'd think you gone, and it was like something was actively squeezing my heart - just enough to push all the air out of my lungs, but not enough to kill. During that time - those moments - I'd imagine loss to be a hollow pain, carved out of my heart. That, ten times more. I thought to myself that no matter how much I was hurting when you were still there, the pain would only get worse when reality plants me to the earth where you no longer are.
I was right, of course. Being a young child - unknowing of the truths of this world - did not stop me from acknowledging the fact that I was just that. A child. Naive. Only capable of imagining the worst things in life. And so I have always considered myself to be extremely inferior to the future. That helped, I guess. I thought the pain'd be so much worse, and it was. Although I soon learned the answer to one cheeky cliche question that was always around teen quotes:
If you expect the unexpected, then doesn't that make the unexpected expected?
The answer is no. Because only an arrogant asshole would think that something so grand and fear-worthy that it is branded as unexpected, would be something people of the past are capable of understanding.
Humans are always going to be inferior, especially to the future - because that is unknowable.
And so it happened. Any day now; any day now; any day now, I'd chant to myself. God has given me so much. I should know that there won't be more. (There was though. More, I mean. There was always something more. Odd that as weak and powerless you were at the time, the smallest things you'd do would brighten my day.)
It did happen at "any day now". No, it wasn't something dramatic like I wasn't there when it happened. It wasn't "that one day" that I didn't expect. I wasn't exactly there either- to look at her eyes as the universe explained to me that our thirteen years together would be over; that she'd no longer be my playmate, my roommate, my daughter, my mother, my caretaker and my savior.
It just... was. It happened. That was it.
Death is not something you can overly dramatize, because death is not romantic. The reason that poets can romanticize death is because that is when humans break free from shackles of responsibility - to be human. During these few moments of vulnerability, we just are. And so that can be romanticized. Dying - maybe. Dying would be a process that would produce flowery words. Life after someone's death? - sure. The drastic change between is and was - surely it's something that's worthy of words in ink.
But death? - No. Like Dr. Frankenstein said in Penny Dreadful, "Death is not serene."
Death is silent - mind-numbingly silent. Death is fluid. You know how they told us, when we were young, that liquid and gas were fluid because they'd take up any shape of their containers? That's how it is. Death is smaller than a drop of a coin, smaller than the footsteps of an ant, smaller than the blink that no one notices. It doesn't leave a trace - maybe in memories, but even those fade away. Death might be smaller than anything scientists might deem to be the "building block" of all things, and yet, it is in the air; it is in words; it is in toothaches and stomachaches and in the smallest squeeze your heart does when you cry. Death is silent, small, and fluid. And death... Death is deadly.
Later on, I'd recount Cook's accurate words on his monologue on Skins: Rise. He talked about fear, always being there, but you get used to it. Eventually, it becomes a silent buzz in your ear that you learn to ignore. That was the feeling I felt during those last few years, when I knew that we didn't have time, but I had to smile.
And true enough, it was gone when you were. The burden of a strange cloud of always doubting, always fearing, always praying that the next day won't be the day - it was gone. And for that I was thankful, that surely your death produced something positive - something even as shallow and selfish as this. I thought about it again and again, how much of a dull ache it was, and how inescapable it was. I was trapped in a tragedy and I knew it.
I understood better what a tragedy was after though, when I not for a second doubted that I'd take those shackles any day, any hour and any second - every day, every hour and every second - for the rest of my life if I could be with you.
Hurting and bitter as I was, I never once fooled myself into thinking that the happiness I felt when I was with you wasn't an infinity's worth greater than pain was. Maybe that would be my happy ending, if life ended in happy endings.
And so I went through the first days in disbelief. Crying on cue when I'd remember you. But then I could only cry because of my capacity for imagination. My imagination caught up faster to reality, than my reality could to the truth.
You weren't there. You're not here, not anymore.
And did you know? It felt so natural. That got me confused. No, I wasn't in denial, but I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that it was this, that it's just... this.
It wasn't the hollow ache in my heart that I thought. It would hurt me and kick me and punch me and almost kill me when I'd think of you. But all those other times... It was just, this.
Only now can I make sense of it, that I write this long post. Nothing's hollow. Nothing's aching all the time. You don't look at a place and imagine where she was - because now it's just empty, and that's not so unnatural. You don't end up doing something that you usually did for her either. Because you're logical, and you know there's no reason for that. No. There's just absence.
I wouldn't think that you were supposed to be here, or there, or some place else altogether. I'd just think to myself, that you had to be somewhere. But why weren't you? I wasn't expecting her to turn up during 4 o'clock or 5 o'clock or even at midnight. It just didn't make sense that she never was going to show up ever again, anywhere.
That feeling of confusion, it wouldn't be the hollow-ness that you feared would eventually kill you. The confusion would leave you alive, alive enough to wish it was the other pain instead.
Your heart is whole - not expectant and not eager.
Like a classroom is whole even when a classmate is absent - and for that one day you don't worry about that person. Even if it was your best friend, you'd still be able to talk to others anyway. But one day she just stopped coming altogether, and you don't know how it happened, or even where to look, what to expect and if you should expect. Your friend was just expelled - indefinitely - and none of you wanted it.
After that, the classroom would stay the same. The once occupied chair would be empty at some point, then someone would sit over it, and eventually it wouldn't be that person's anymore.
And even then, you just register all of these logically, and only allow yourself to cry when you consciously think about it. Because how the fuck did this happen?
That, ladies and gentlemen, is how death is. It is an absence, which leaves you enough space to stuff questions in - all the questions in the world that you can't answer - and even then, when the absence is full enough with questions, there are still tiny holes from the P's and the R's and the S's - so tiny that you can't concentrate on them, but are still there anyway.
Eventually you cope with that, and those tiny holes? They get even smaller - to the point that you can't tell whether or not they're still there. You just go on with your life - because Monday to Sunday still exists, and so do you. You just hope that when you graduate, there might be hope to see that person again. Though considering you'll have spent so much time apart, you don't even know what'll happen.
From the barrier of that which is and what was, you learn the difference. You still love her, but it becomes a reserved type of love, there but never active. Because you have to use your active love for those who are. Then you never really know what happens to that love - the one which is most definitely there, but just not there.
That may be one of the true tragedies of man, because as we are truth-seeking creatures, we are hurt when we do not know. And worse still, compared to not knowing that which is beautiful, is not knowing what will happen to that beauty that you do know.
*Dedicated to my little girl, Blossom. Dachshund and Proud. July 18, 2013.