Pyramid Song

10 01 2010

I recognized the cry–the desperate cry that hopes beyond hope that everything will be okay even though it won’t be. It switches to agony until it is replaced by lost silent eyes. And then they go home to an empty cold bed where they have to take drugs to sleep otherwise see shadows and faces in the dark window.  

 The first time you lose the person that means the most to you is the hardest. I’m not saying that you can’t get hurt again. It’s just that you’re better prepared for the next time. You expect everyone to die. And eventually they will. The difference is that you know you will survive. Because you didn’t kill yourself off the first time even though you wanted to. The worst has already happened.

You’re never the same afterward. You think that you’ll never heal. And that whole bullshit line about time heals everything is just a line. By time that amount of time has passed, you’ve already forgotten how much it really hurt that first day, the first week, the first month, the first year. Those first days drag by with a miserable pit in your stomach and nothing means as much or tastes as good. And you’re constantly counting. Time is counted in postmortem minutes of first holidays, anniversaries and birthdays spent without them. You save everything that they ever touched. An empty box of Dots candy—the ones they shouldn’t have been eating because they were diabetic. Their Wal-Mart name tag—even though they cursed that place. Size 12 slip-on shoes. You insist on wearing them even though their 3 sizes too big. You wrap yourself in their favorite blanket until it loses their scent. After a while nobody wants to listen to you talk about your dead girlfriend anymore. They say you’re obsessed.

You relive that worst week of your life everyday for the next 2 years.  I spent mine in Chicago waiting for her body to be shipped from Michigan.  The funeral was delayed because they got the death certificate wrong.  I helped pick out a coffin at a Russian sweat shop. Her aunt talked her into heaven even though she was a pagan. The preacher sent us all to hell, because he was convinced that we were hooked on Ecstasy. I think he got the wrong funeral. They straightened her afro, and painted her face. I didn’t want to remember her that way, so I refused to look. She wanted to be cremated, but she got buried instead. I still don’t know where she’s buried. She died wearing the socks that she bought me for Christmas.  

Suddenly it’s 9 years later. And those 2 years that you spent together is a momentary blink– a few second yawn. And those 3 years you spent trying to find yourself back seem childish. Emery Jade happened before I started writing anything down. Before I realized that if it’s not written down somewhere, the memory will change constantly until you’ve got nothing left. It’s like the yellow blanket that she left behind–threadbare and unable to  hold in heat. And you don’t dare wash it because it will fall apart. But eventually you do wash it, and you keep it in some faraway tote in the basement instead of in your bed.

The first time I heard this song Rhiannon was driving us into Chicago for the funeral.

Pyramid Song from Amnesiac

I jumped in the river and what did I see?
Black-eyed angels swam with me
A moon full of stars and astral cards
AND All the figures I used to see
All my lovers were there with me
All my past and futures
And we all went to heaven in a little row boat
There was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt

 -Radiohead- 

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And other not-so-random ways to die . . .

1 09 2009

When you’ve had a girlfriend and an ex-girlfriend die a span of 5 years, you get a little paranoid. It’s not a matter of if it happens again but when. We all die eventually. So even
though it may not happen now or 10 to 20 years from now, it will happen. But who will be first? Will it be me or my partner?

Jacks might inherit her mother’s breast cancer. The next cigarette could lead to an early
heart attack? Or a random chunk of blue ice could fall from a passenger plane, killing her instantaneously. Maybe she’ll be electrocuted during a house repair project or choke to death at the dinner table. The cat could trip her on the stairs. .

This past weekend I was out of town for my 3 day work week. I felt that impending
doom, worried that she might already be lying dead in a ditch somewhere. All because it was 10pm and I had not heard from her since 11am. I couldn’t remember if she was headed Up North for a visit or if she was supposed to be working.

I left her a voice mail. Texted her. Nothing. I tried to calm myself. Maybe she didn’t have very good cell phone service Up North. Maybe she was busy at work and couldn’t call me back. Maybe she went out for a pack of cigarettes and was never coming back. Earlier that day I had noticed that she had disappeared off my Facebook page. I was no longer in a relationship with Jacks, according to Facebook. If she was really dead, there was nothing I could do about it anyway. I told myself to just go to sleep. I took a Benadryl and proceeded to toss and turn. I texted her brother. He hadn’t heard from her either. .

My phone vibrated at 10:30 with a message from Jacks. Her phone was almost dead and she didn’t have her charger. She would be home soon, and she loved me. I was relieved but still wide awake. I wouldn’t be satisfied until I heard her voice from the safety of our home.

15 minutes later, she called me but not from home. She was at exit 90. She needed the number for a tow truck. She had been driving 70mph down the freeway when her tire flew off and her truck hit the cement, sparks flying. The truck stopped inches from the guard rail.

The guys at Tuffy said the lug nuts were sheered off perfectly like someone had cut them off. Rather suspicious. A couple days earlier we had noticed that the top right hand corner of her license plate had been cut out. Some fucker must have used a tin snips to steal her tag. She only makes $9.00/hr. Seriously, if you can’t afford your own tag, ride the bus! She drives a rusty 1991 Chevy S-10. Why couldn’t they have gone to the rich neighborhood? Why not a BMW or a Lexus?

Tuffy said the truck should have flipped over and veered into on-coming traffic. Those feelings of impending doom were not unwarranted. Jacks said she had similar feelings.
The tag and the tire are both replaceable—Jacks, not so much.