Sunday, September 25, 2016


I remember a time when I wrote and he replied. I wrote to him during his work hours, delivering news of triggers and associations as if he were still here: reports of the fridge door having fallen off its hinges and a photo of "breadcake", a piece of white bread with some candles impaled in it. He wouldn't reply as often as he used to, but he would claim that he sent messages that I never received. When I did receive a reply, he was polite but distant, half-heartedly entertaining my stupid stories about a life which could only really be described as Fawlty Towers meets The Young Ones. I knew that he hated it here and I knew he would never return after he left.

I mourned his physical and emotional absence. His replies lacked the kind of warmth and personal interest I had grown accustomed to. I dreamt up this metaphor of being partially submerged in a raging river. I would cling onto a rock to save myself from being carried away in the torrent. He was like that rock, inadvertently shaped like a handle, not purposefully doing anything to encourage me to hold on, but still providing a means for me to cling and hope. The river represented other hostel encounters and the existence of other possibilities that I purposefully avoided. I held my head above water, still feeling that pressure to accept his choice, to let go and move on.

I dwelled on that scene, describing it to Don, a short-term guest who had the tendency to veer our every conversation into the realms of intense romantic trauma. Don had the noble intention to keep our conversation light, but we were genuinely incapable of small talk and so he still found himself there with me at reception, extolling brutal therapy til the early hours of the morning. I'll never forget how he described what was happening to me, he said it was akin to a kind of haemorrhage: "You are used to having this daily exchange and now it's like you are losing your life force. You are bleeding everywhere. You are getting nothing back anymore..."

To anybody who had any kind of distance from the situation, the sudden and complete lack of responsiveness was to be expected. I could never really accept it, however, relying upon prior assurances that we would always have access to one another. He would always respond to me. In light of that, we had always discussed concepts like legacy and consequence, perhaps as a subconscious attempt to help me manage those future triggers and associations that would plague me. I'm now left to consider the veracity of all these grandiose assurances and I don't know how to reconcile any of it: "I won't be able to listen to music without thinking of you..."

Notebooks need to be filled. Essays, songs and unsent letters need to be written. It will eventually manifest in kindness, clarity and indifference. Most importantly, I have to continuously remind myself that although there might be silence, but the dialogue which I share with Missy Laur provides the kind of space and patience necessary to wring out any plague. It was surreal to have her sit across from me in receptipm, as so many others had done before. I described Don's vivid metaphor to her. I added that her insight had always managed to make me feel so alive, so together. I felt so gratified that she knew it too: "Of course! I am your dialysis machine."

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