Tag Archives: death

the burning clock of time.

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I was just sitting on the couch crying at long island medium on netflix, of all things. crying for the simple reason that in every episode, the running theme in what the dead are trying to communicate to their living loved ones is: don’t feel guilty. don’t feel like you could have done more. you did all you could. our beloved dead, they just want us to be happy. I could have used that message a long time ago, but here it is, now. I suppose I will need it again, soon enough.

last week I saw n. for the first time in a decade, really. she’s one of my good friends from high school. we’d lost touch because she was in a supreme downward spiral. she pushed everyone away & then disappeared. I had no idea what happened to her, and her birth name is a very common one, so she’s hard to track on the internet. but then last spring we ran into each other on the street in Oakland. she lives in santa cruz, not far from here, and last weekend I was down there & I gave her a call. she picked me up & we drove to the beach, trying to encapsulate the past decade when there was so much to say.

I said, “I thought you were dead.” she says, “I really did almost die,” and then told me how she came to live. she is healthier than i’d ever seen her. we saw people swimming in the ocean and we decided to go. to the nude beach, because we didn’t have bathing suits. the pacific ocean, in October. I haven’t been in this body of water yet, it’s too cold up where I live. it was kind of too cold then, but the water helped us focus. I put my head under and let out an involuntary yelp and she laughed so hard. it was sunny and here we are, this girl I love so much, who I honestly thought was gone forever, I mean even when I saw her she acted like a ghost, it was impossible to talk, she wasn’t even there. and now she is here, and I am here, and we were there, and I got salt on my face like I was craving, and we were so cold but we didn’t mind, every nerve in our skin firing, the discomfort reminding us that we are still alive.

my love, she keeps me warm.

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i was just thinking about safety. about how my friends & i say “get home safe,” when we are parting. especially the women & the queerz. how we say it with a note of wistfulness, a hope, a fear that it might not come true. thinking about my clients, the ones i have connections with, the sadness in their voice when they say it to me. “be careful out there, sweetie. get home safe,” spoken by the witnesses, the survivors of the most terrible things you can think of. spoken with the heavy sadness, the knowledge that it’s not safe, that none of us really know anything about safety.

a new friend of mine didn’t make it home safely last week, died in a car, in the suburbs–supposedly safer than walking home in the city, but it didn’t protect her. i didn’t know her that well, but she was very loved by everyone who knew her. i felt so sure that she was going to do great things with her life. i can’t stop thinking about it.

today i was on the phone with e., one of the 8 or so people i refer to as my “best friend”. we have known each other since childhood, been tight since we were 15. we were reminiscing about the bad old days. i brought up m., the only other out gay kid at my high school, who we took on as a project. we drove him to the gay coffeehouse, and then when we dropped him off at his house, he wouldn’t stop trying to force himself on e. i was sitting in the back and i punched him on the side of his head, screamed, “get the fuck OFF HIM,” i was so timid back then, but i guess it was easier to stand up for someone else.

anyway. we were talking about him and e. said, “i heard that he died,” and i googled his name and it’s true. he died on new year’s. cause of death vague. my gut tells me suicide. this blog has turned into a memorial site & i didn’t mean it. it just seems that a lot of people are dying lately. i guess that’s what happens when you’ve lived for a while. it feels sometimes like my dad goes to funerals constantly. that’s partially because he knows a lot of people, & partially because he knows people through heavy drinking. & the longer you live, the more funerals you go to. or, in my case, when i am living 2,912 miles from the place of my birth, when most of the people i love are somewhere else, you light candles and write blog entries and try to figure it out as best you can. nobody in your daily life gets it so you keep as quiet as you can.

you ride home and the cars are so close. you know your days are numbered. you’ve always, always, always known that your time in this life is limited. the cars are so close by on your bicycle, they come so close but still you rise unharmed. this time. you know you won’t always be so lucky. gotta do what you can, so that when it’s your time to go, people will write nice blog entries. i hope they say, “she tried,” i hope they say, “she brought that aries fire, she inspired me,”  i hope they say, “she wrote something good,” but i guess you can’t control what they say. i hope they play “the trapeze act” by iron & wine, then storytelling, then “i was here” by beyonce. i hope i have a little more time to say what i need to say. i hope i get to dance with my best friends again. i guess i don’t know. i guess i won’t, until it’s too late.