Cold turkey and other vegetarian dinners.

My little ghost baby was a year old last saturday. I decided I can still call it a birthday if I want to. Even though he wasn’t born alive: he was still born.  We took him some blue balloons. The weather was terrible and we didn’t stay as long as I would have wanted to. Even when I’m not at the peaceful cemetery, I still think of him every day. Things remind me of him. Unavoidably. Putting my make up on in the mirror and I see the way that my mouth hangs open: I’m suddenly reminded of his mouth in the one pose he could ever manage. When we first saw those photos, we wondered who his mouth reminded us of. Whilst at work I overhear a conversation about someone’s friend who couldn’t feel their baby moving and they are 25 weeks and more gone. My throat closes up. I walk out of the room, calmly so as not to arouse suspicion or create drama. Things remind me and although they make me sad, I’m glad that he is so close in my thoughts that the slightest thing can evoke him.

 Now it’s been a year, now ‘enough’ time has passed, I feel it’s time to try again. So we had tests done. They came back good. But I have too many white blood cells. It’s always something and I pray it’s nothing. These wishes and hand-clutching sky-ward beggings, they’re all I can do, the only control I have. I cling tight to them because my dreams knock me on my arse otherwise. Three dreams I had that came true and now I’m a quivering coward clairvoyant. Dreaming that I’d contracted a life threatening disease, I awoke in a sweat. Sent me thumbing through my dream book and pulling everything out of my bureau for an answer. ‘To dream of cancer means there is something that is eating away at you’ ‘to dream it’s in your stomach denotes there is something that you can’t stomach’. Fingers interlock again and I pray the dream was symbolic and not prophetic.

If reliving relieves then why am I not completely healed? Why do I still have such fear and such weight? Why can’t I stamp my foot and howl with delight like others do? I relive in chapters, everything terrible that has occurred. I play it out in my mind like a little movie. Effortlessly it comes back to me and I don’t shy away from it. I let it come. I let it play out and I move forward. So why all this shortness of breath, this anxiety and anguish? Maybe the horrible truth is that reliving is only part of the healing process…the other part is learning to live with the scars and deformities you now hold. Finding another way to carry those heavy objects because your back just wont behave itself anymore. Finding another way to be you again.

We’re thinking of trying for another baby. We’re thinking of it. We’re close. Maybe one of these days we’ll just jump right in again and do it. Send that witch swirling above our roof tops like we once did. See what lands, see who grows there. He decides we need to be healthier this time, he needs to quit smoking, I need to lose some weight. And cold turkey seems like the wrong phrase for the vegetarian at heart. Do the most beneficial things in life all require diving head first into the clear cold waters, deep and enveloping? Or can some things be obtained through the timid toe-diping that I’m more adept at? I dunno. I’ll meal plan and he’ll be cranky. We’ll go for walks the both of us, we’ll talk, we’ll work through it. After all, this abstinence from our unhealthy pursuits can’t be anywhere near as bad as what we’ve already had to endure. Cold turkey and it’s months away from christmas but to hell with it.

My brother-in-law got married and it was a beautiful day. It was moving. They looked suited and romantic together. Him in a claret suit, her in ivory with that ebony hair. Perfect. I can’t deny that it made me think of me and Phil. Can you only feel things when you can relate them to yourself? Is the world really that egocentric? I thought of the two of us and I wished for all the good things we have and more for them. I wished for none of the bad, and I wished hard clutching my aching hands together in this constant pleading with whatever forces that may be that are not tired of listening to me. I know how they felt, I know how nice it is to be married and I just kept wanting to hug them. And although we had to walk like motherfuckers in the rain fast back to catch the last tube, I was still stupidly happy for the wonderful evening that reminded me that there are still things left to celebrate. Although all the pictures I took were shit, the memories I have are lovely.

We met my dad at the cemetery one weekend. It reminded me of that dream I had where he said he would wait to meet a grandchild before he’d die. We sat in our Glastonbury chairs and I looked at his superman jumper while he talked. His dark olive pip eyes, the first man I ever knew. He’s everything to me. And it’s painful to see him so ill. I want desperately to give him a grandchild, to see how he’d look at them. Hear what he’d call them. See that gentle touching awkwardness with which he loves people. Let that banjo folk music play again in our hearts. Restore nature and fear and all things back to the balance which shows them to be simultaneously happy and sad, dark and light and not just always one way. Open up the other side of things that seemed to close when Dylan died. Kick this bad luck in the fucking bollox and send it on it’s fucking way. Go and find some other poor bastard to torment you venomous cretin!

There’s a lady I know whose dad also has cancer. She cries a lot and I can see she isn’t coping. I want to remind her that her dad isn’t dead yet. Save her tears for when he goes. Smile with him for a while and let him enjoy all those pretty happy things that made his life meaningful. But I know it’s easier said than done and I know she wont be able to do it. Not because she’s weak. Crying doesn’t make you weak. But because the way we deal with things isn’t determined by what we intend. It just comes the way it comes. I think. And when she asks me how the hell I cope with things so well, I hate it. I feel as though it says I care less than she does, I feel less than she does: and I know that’s not true, but what the fuck can I say in my own defence? ‘I can’t cry in front of others. I can’t feel things when others are watching. I can only express through this one gift I have’. Hidden behind the pen and paper, the glare of the computer, the ‘wine blank page’ this weird solitary social ether. I press a button and anyone can know my thoughts. The beauty of which is not having to know their reaction. I don’t have the weight of their judgement, the annoyance that I’ve bummed them out. And I don’t have the burden of being unable to delete my words when they come out wrong. When my voice shakes or I’m too aware of myself to speak with any depth or insight. In this medium alone, I have some respite: I have some liberation.

Troubles Will Be Gone: Tallest Man On Earth

Oh, when it’s god I see in headlights kneeling down on frozen highways
And salvation in white knuckles on a wheel                                                                                                                                                                                    And the deer is in the audience by the border of the darkness where forgiveness grows and slowly winds away
Well there’s a question somewhere asked with all the answers inside                                                                                                                                       But I’ll never find the kid before she’s gone Well the day is never done, but there’s a light on where you’re sleeping                                                       So I hope somewhere that troubles will be gone
But now the ghost is in my jacket and my stairs were built in anger                                                                                                                                 Winding forcefully but end up where I stand But there are no rocks or salt and nails, I low my cannons not to kill you                                            Simply lost the words to tell you I’m afraid
And there’s a sign up to a hill to see the far of the land Well the sign will tell you, “Turn if there’s a one”                                                                        Still the day is never done, but there’s a light on where you’re sleeping                                                                                                                                     So I hope somewhere that troubles will be gone
Oh darling, when it’s you I see in headlights, driving down the golden highway                                                                                                                     And salvation in the beauty of some brace                                                                                                                                                                                      And the deer is gone without me to the valley of surrender                                                                                                                                                     There is still another world along it’s tracks
But there’s that sign up to a hill to see the far of the land Well the sign will say, “There’s still a higher one”                                                                    And now the day is slowly setting, and the lights on where you’re sleeping                                                                                                                                So I hope somewhere that troubles will be gone
Oh, when it’s god I see in headlights kneeling down on frozen highways                                                                                                                                  And salvation in white knuckles on a wheel                                                                                                                                                                                    And the deer is in the audience by the border of the darkness where forgiveness grows and slowly winds away
Well there’s a question somewhere asked with all the answers inside                                                                                                                                       But I’ll never find the kid before she’s gone                                                                                                                                                                                    Well the day is never done, but there’s a light on where you’re sleeping                                                                                                                                     So I hope somewhere that troubles will be gone
But now the ghost is in my jacket and my stairs were built in anger                                                                                                                                 Winding forcefully but end up where I stand                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               But there are no rocks or salt and nails, I low my cannons not to kill you                                                                                                                             Simply lost the words to tell you I’m afraid
And there’s a sign up to a hill to see the far of the land                                                                                                                                                                Well the sign will tell you, “Turn if there’s a one” Still the day is never done, but there’s a light on where you’re sleeping                                             So I hope somewhere that troubles will be gone
Oh darling, when it’s you I see in headlights, driving down the golden highway                                                                                                                     And salvation in the beauty of some brace                                                                                                                                                                                       And the deer is gone without me to the valley of surrender                                                                                                                                                         There is still another world along it’s tracks
But there’s that sign up to a hill to see the far of the land                                                                                                                                                              Well the sign will say, “There’s still a higher one”                                                                                                                                                                               And now the day is slowly setting, and the lights on where you’re sleeping                                                                                                                               So I hope somewhere that troubles will be gone

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