My Mother had three boys between two different men, all of whom have nothing to do with her or their offspring. Elaborate tales of why spun across dining tables, as if the why’s matter and they bring comfort. Because really there’s no reason why things happen, they just do, but it’s a reality we hide from children. Like they should be privileged to live in this frame where rhymes make a rhythm. All this fancying, this bone breaking theater leaves us with, is not some optimistic vision of the world, our future, our place in the universe spiritually or materialistically, but an aching hole and hunger, a wound dying to go back to that time, that lie that seemed so real.
I’ve been alone most of my life, unable to connect to the many colors of my family. The first a neurotic mess crippled by a perceived wrong, addled with aggression and a an abrasive sense of justness. The second an unperturbed liar, a narcissistic capable of hurting so easily; and the worst, the last one thrown out, a flavorless fuck incapable and lame. Vile and hurtful. Not even aware enough to describe themselves as anything more than a pitiful excuse for a person.
I grew up confused and I sometimes day-dream about my death. Who would mourn for me, pour water on my grave, breath heat into the soil? It’s a small list and gets smaller still. I try to imagine when my bones will be bleached and if anyone will write for me. Will anyone love me then.
That day, the heat was terrible, but I perched under that tree, scared of what I might find. A terrible fear that I didn’t know what to do with. I was bad to that dog. I hardly ever took her out, forgot about her, didn’t stroke her enough share with her… Now she was sentenced to death, and all I was faced with was the miserable things I had failed at. Not a good memory in sight, and I wonder if she knew that…
I didn’t want to look at death, at suicide, because I imagined that I, through action or inaction had helped those seeds grow and those wounds fester…
Or maybe it was the powerless feeling that unsettled me so much, a lack of confidence to change the world. A time where those lies I had as a child would be so handy. Where I could spin yarns like my mother and brothers did, lies about how things are, and why they happen. Feed that wound, not only in someone, but in myself. Was it easy to do? I don’t even remember it, maybe no one does, maybe it’s natural, inert in us to sooth like that, with fiction, but it never does sooth, it only furthers that extension.
The strain she has. I can’t reach around it, not with words, only with my arms. I want to feel the re-verb of her chest open and close. I want her to feel me dying with her… I just… Want her not to hurt anymore.
An overdose of anesthetic, it seemed so easy. A cardiac arrest and complete failure of the respiratory system seizes the body. . Her paw, listlessly hangs off the table. it’s movement, not governed by the force of her body, her might and muscle, but by the force of gravity. The line break between life and death. The snap of the fingers, that warns you she’s dead; and it awakens a primal, cave like fear. A want to leave it, images of carcass I’ve seen on the shore. rotten and eaten sheep. Bloated ribcages exploded and open. the gases once inside having grown and burst, popping the body like a balloon.
I picture my hands, as I lifted myself off her plunging into her rotted rib-cage, getting stuck on the bones and congealing blood…
yet the worst part, was that I left her there, on that gaudy stainless steel frame with a rubberized black top that’s convenient to clean. It’s such a fucking indignity, it offends me to see that, her paw so, dead. Her eyes sit open but they are still, she’s dead. I tried, before I left, to…
Put her paw back, to leave her in a more, peaceful position, as if it matter, but every time, it flopped back, and with each attempt, I grew just a more numb until it didn’t even matter any more.
She was dead. When A second ago she was driven by this urge to exist. The cells inside her dividing and copying themselves, growing and living and mutating. The urge to live, the divinity of self-interest. Matters to us all, matters to me, but when this dog, this unloved dog died on that table, me clutching her shaking form was I respecting that?
Yet I still ask the woman I love, who wants to die, to live. I lie and say I showed that dog a mercy, when It wanted to live and to live with, a cruel joke.
I held that body.
That dog of matted hair, stinking the way she always stank, hair coming away with me, playing in my fingers on the drive home. The wound in my stomach growing till the point of vomit.
When I held that dog on that table, that awful terrible table, I imagined you in your coffin. Me, being unable to love you. A stranger to your family, a stranger to your husband, a gritted eulogy, where I would introduce myself as a colleague, unable to say the things I could never say again. The threads of me that bleed into you severed, broken nerves that would never heal or leave. A brain too dumb to recognize their deadness, always sending signals to those frayed corners going nowhere. To big, to colorful and hungry to let anything else grow. And to you, that you would leave without me, perhaps I am not intended to see. To know of… Yet my whole being just wants it, to hold you all the time, and when I picture your body that urge is so painful, so sharp.
I held a dead body that day, I didn’t want to hold yours, not because I wouldn’t, because I would, I’d’ never let go, but I wouldn’t want to live in a world without you.
I wish I had, some profound point to leave, some moment of clarity when it clicks and makes sense, but that would be another lie for another child. Because there isn’t one.
It’s you and me, our lives, our memories, our moments. Each second passing irretrievable. I say that I love you, because I know that each second that does pass with you, I don’t want to retrieve, I want to preserve.