It was never my intention to post my book, but I have little else to write about (at least tonight). I will say that, while I have faithfully written this blog every day so far this year, I am still afraid of finishing what I also feel destined to complete. In my heart, I am a writer. And in my heart, I am scared of so many, many things.
The summer after you did, Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett both died on the same day. I walked past the condo I had sent you a picture of about two months earlier when I thought: If all of you were in the same space now, would you be talking to one another? Does death level the playing field between celebrity and the regular people? Would there be a big party every night?
(And why was it that I was not invited? Was I not cool enough, even for those lying in their graves?)
For months (and truthfully, years), I wondered if there was not some way in which to reach you. I always felt connected spiritually to those things which could be considered paranormal. True, there was no Ghostbuster-or-otherwise-reality-television show future for me, but sometimes I felt as if – if I was really quiet – I could feel things. And for the life of me, I searched you out only to become thoroughly confused.
Sleeping, in the days immediately following your death, was a foreign concept to me. Every time I closed my eyes I saw you lying there on the floor. I would think of you – and maybe my imagination got the best of me – I would feel utter coldness. Though you dying was one of my worst fears, I think it a joke that you actually went and did it. Especially when you knew how I deal with scary things. I tried, at your wake, to spend some time alone with you – I kneeled before your casket and just tried to talk, tried to deal with the myriad thoughts running rampant in my head. But instead, I just felt weird, sad, and slightly creeped out that I was talking to a box which held a version of you I wouldn’t soon forget.
The night before your funeral, I awoke in the middle of the night. I had chosen to sleep in your old room at your parents’ house. Though I was half asleep, I could see clearly that there was a glittering, fluctuating red light just hovering in the middle of the room. And all I could think was, “I love you,” and fell back to sleep, hazily, but the reality was that I was scared. I remember in the morning thinking that a red-swirly deal was a weird choice. I remember glumly that I was hoping for a Obi-Wan-type projection. I remember wanting it not to be a dream, that I had seen something like that kid in the Sixth Sense. That maybe the red signified a heart, love, passion or any of those things connected with the living. That maybe, even then, you were still with me.
After your funeral – literally, right after – I got on a plane to Philadelphia. I spent the weekend there with my mom and sisters, feeling like an asshole because I was in Philadelphia. All I wanted was to be at home trying to figure out what had happened. For many weeks after, I walked around in a daze. Everything reminded me of you. The permanence. There was no place in Chicago to escape to, although I wasn’t really trying. Most of my time was spent trying to clean out our old apartment (which eventually was just yours), and some part of me thought that you’d find it funny – me, who can’t organize worth shit, trying to put your things away into boxes and bins.
I was okay as long as it was still daylight, and as long as I did not spend too much time in the bedroom where I found you. If I had to go in there, I made sure to gingerly step around that area, as if you were still lying there. All I knew was that I didn’t want to step on you; I thought it disrespectful. (In case you were wondering, it took me almost two years to see a therapist about any of this.)
© ART, 2012. (While I know this doesn’t prevent work from being stolen, just don’t steal. It makes you a better person.)