I shoved my palm against the open mouth of autumn and pressed down hard enough to feel its teeth cutting into flesh. I leaned in really close, and asked if it worried about too much heat. Odd lessons learned through conversations with strangers — mostly about myself. Yesterday’s revelation involved a keen sense of personal fatalism that forces me into action, flipping over monopoly tables and the like. At the end of six hours exchanging texts, I arrived at the realization I’m probably better off than I thought I’d be, but I worried for the gentlemen on the receiving end of these confessions. Two days later and we decided we were just trying to outdo each other in collective damages. Took a breath. Tried to find the perspective that usually holes me up and locks down those old vulnerabilities, and couldn’t find it. I’m okay with this. I don’t know how that happened. We switched topics, laughing, but part of the resulting internal dialogue kept me up half the night. Live fast, die young, bad girls do it well. Over and over.
Absent the old writing anchor, I often find myself dallying between being completely charmed by irregular creatures who’ve made the smallest gestures of kindness, and wallowing in a state of misery so profound I can’t think of doing anything other than contending with Netflix. It’s a strange place that sits on the cusp of the part of the year I actually like — the part that involves decaying leaves, crisp morning runs, vats of herbal tea, and my face shoved into a book. Fluffy socks. A bunch of word golems that I can set up around myself like a battalion to escape the world a bit. A to-do list that involves Battlestar Galactica, Arrow, and Hemlock Grove playing in the background.
What were plans for Saturday dissolved into feet propped up on a second story balcony, several beers, and deeply rooted truths kicked back and forth. A whole lot of trust. Easy moments and difficult confessions made less so because eventually you get to that point where you’ve drilled deep enough into your friendship that any sort of “I told you so,” gets left out of the conversation. Another Best Time Ever to mark the first harvest festival of the year. More beer. The couple on the picnic table below hearing our laments about how we lacked a chess board.
There’s a narrow strip of concrete between the back door and the farthest fence. Veer two feet to the left, and you’re in the bush, veer two feet right and you end up in the pool. On the bad days over the past three weeks when there’s no one else out back, I’ve been using this little track of cement to pace out the things that don’t filter through the whispered, fervent conversation of shared secrets and the cavalier laughter flavoured by one too many pints.
When it’s all said and done and there’s no other recourse, and you’ve made your best efforts — in the end it’s the end and you make your tearful goodbyes. Agree that this guy who’s been your best friend for the past two years isn’t the right fit and it’s time to move on anyway, and promise yourself that when you can handle it in a couple of months, you will go out for pints at the pub that you used to go to together all the time and laugh a bit after you spend just enough time dwelling on those good moments that you couldn’t rekindle.
When my grandfather died two years ago, I didn’t have a big moment. There was no reckoning amidst the mourning. No instant that demanded I face down and consider what his death meant beyond the immediate loss, and worry for my grandmother who survived him, and my mother who cared for him in his last days while I struggled to get home from a business trip to New York while they admitted him to the hospital. Stuck in a hotel room, unable to get an early flight out, you’re there. That’s it. There are no more chances. You’re just done.
I’ve lived two lives. There’s a time before, and a time after, and the designation between one and the other is marked off by a shift in perspective brought about by the death of two family members, an extended period of mourning that resulted in severe writer’s block, and the abandonment of fandom for two years. That’s a tough way to start off any blog post, so I want you to understand this right off the bat: if you’re coming from fandom, welcome. You and I have a distant relationship.