I have that exact relationship with someone. It’s kind of torturous, but also, I’ve become sort of complacent about the parts of it that hurt really bad, so I’m like…experiencing very high functioning torture that I mostly ignore. I think it’s working out.
I had a dream like 2 or 3 months ago wherein I was watching an hourglass filled with dark brown sand run out, and I guess I understood I had like maybe 2 minutes left to live. So, really, the only thing I could do was decide what my last thoughts were gonna be. Dream Laura decided on the lyrics to this song:
I can’t speak for Dream Laura, really, because she does a lot of things I probably wouldn’t do and neglects to do a whole shit ton of things I would definitely do, BUT, “Going To Georgia” is plausibly the most human art thing I’ve ever gotten to experience, and I guess Dream Laura reasoned that she should indulge in one last sublimely human thing before she stopped being a human and would thereby be a total poser by trying to participate. And also dead.
I used to think about this more frequently, but sometimes I wonder what my dad’s last thoughts were when he was dying. He died like really fast, so he might not have known he was dying and his last thought could’ve been “I should retie my right shoelace, it’s kinda tight” by default, which would be unfortunate, but, in the years I’ve been dealing with various incarnations of grief, I’ve been trying to remember that the sum of my dad’s life was a lot greater than the last things he did. It helps me not be so bummed that I didn’t get to say goodbye. My last conversation with my dad was about voiding a check. It lasted roughly 5 minutes and then I went to my second job interview ever and then 2 days later he was dead. But, maybe he did know he was dying. I wonder what he thought about. I guess I sorta hope he thought of me and my sister, but I don’t think I’d be offended if he thought about something or someone else.
This is kind of a one-who-got-away situation for me which, inherently, has some elements of grief ’cause your options are either to a) pine and hope wistfully like a big, dumb idiot or b) do something realistic that brings you tangible joy. I guess that’s a false dilemma. You can do both. The one who got away (who I’m gonna call Gilgamesh because I looked around just now and it was the first name I saw when I glanced at a pile of books – and is also an appropriate nickname for other reasons, so that’s cool) shows up in my life in small measures maybe 4 or 5 times a year. That’s sorta weird, maybe, because we used to see each other every day and he spent most of his time at my apartment. I guess it’s not really that weird because that was a long time ago and the separation was fairly gradual and partially spurred on by location changes. It takes like actual effort to maintain friendships with people who live hundreds of miles away and I’m super not good at holding up my end sometimes.
So, um…Gil…the idea of that ever actually working out in any scenario strikes me as complete lunacy and I don’t know how much of that is manufactured by years of far-flung honesty dumps (go ahead, picture it, I know you want to, I can see inside your brain right now) and how much of it is my realistic understanding that Gil is a terrible partner and it requires so much energy just to keep up with him that I’d probably run myself into the ground trying. I probably already did at least once. Gil feeds my mania. Gil, himself, has bipolar (or at least mentioned in passing that he was diagnosed once but he refuses to treat it). I would believe Gil has bipolar. He’s incredibly impulsive and he never sleeps. One time we fucked on my birthday and it was terrible. We were both terrible. I’m trying really had not to analyze myself over this, but this dude is kind of emblematic of all things kinetic in my life, so when shit slows down, I’m inclined to feel Gil’s absence more acutely, and it’s probably not super healthy, but I indulge in this neat little mixture of craving, restlessness and nostalgia like just for the fuck of it. Why not? If I’m gonna have a feeling and I can’t do anything about it, then I should probably just have the damned feeling.
I’m gonna be in San Francisco in June which actually means nothing because Gil doesn’t live there anymore and hasn’t for at least a few years, but I’m still gonna be on the lookout for a preposterously tall, skinny dude destroying old guys at chess or getting hammered and writing letters on the beach at 1 in the afternoon. I don’t even know if he does either of those things anymore, but if he does, he’ll be doing them on the other side of the country because, Laura, he doesn’t live in San Francisco anymore, dummy. That doesn’t mean I’m likely to rid myself of the assumption that he’s gonna be around. When we do connect, it’s pretty arbitrarily, so there’s no reason why we both wouldn’t be in a city neither of us lives in at the exact same time and then run into each other just ’cause.I did really well in the Logic course I took in college and this paragraph is making me feel entirely undeserving of that high mark (conceding that Formal Logic and common sense are not the exact same thing). I’m being kinda ex-Catholic at myself right now, which is to say I’m denigrating myself when it’s not really called for, but seriously, Gil and I will not be running into each other casually in San Francisco in June.
So, Ok, death, right? I feel like I already popped my cherry re: me facing death ’cause of that time I was gonna kill myself, so I’ve given more thought than I assume most people give to the very last seconds of my life. I really don’t wanna fuck it up ’cause I only get to do it once. I won’t be able to regret it, but that’s cold comfort (which I won’t be able to feel, but still). Mountain Goats lyrics are a perfectly fine choice. John Darnielle has, arguably, made my life a little better, so maybe he can go ahead and make my death a little better too. Sure. Fine. I probably won’t screw that one up. But, hey, the needlessly poetic and exquisite anguish that comes with missing the ever-loving fuck out of Gil is among the most genuine emotions I ever get to feel, so maybe that’s the better choice. I don’t actually need anything from him ever again. I’m pretty satisfied that we met and I’m pretty satisfied with the time we spent together (except that sex time), even if that time feels unhappily truncated when I think about it too hard, which isn’t terribly often. He’s more of a totem at this point. I’m not sure how I feel about that. It’s weird. I feel weird.
Anyway, the album Alopecia by WHY? is coming to the desert island with me because it’s pretty magnificent. My reason for mentioning it is the presence of the lyric:
“Even though I haven’t seen you in years, yours is a funeral I’d fly to from anywhere”
And it’s a little bizarre to have that feeling and then to have someone articulate it for you and you sorta wanna punch something, but like out of relief or maybe even euphoria or maybe I need to have a conversation with myself about when and why it’s appropriate to punch things. I’ll do it later. Here. Dig this super dark song in the meantime, and maybe think about your own mortality and then try to accept my sincerest contrition for ruining your day: