People leave an indelible mark, a notable impression, even the smallest space, in our lives. Like a fingerprint. Even if it fades away, the oil from the skin remains. The shape will always be slightly discernible. You will most certainly see a faint outline of it, if you squint hard enough, despite the time that lapses since the finger was first pressed upon the surface. I don’t know. I don’t know about any of it. The truth hurts, and it makes me sad, but absence is inevitable.
“To touch and feel each thing in the world, to know it by sight and by name, and then to know it with your eyes closed so that when something is gone, it can be recognized by the shape of its absence. So that you can continue to possess the lost, because absence is the only constant thing. Because you can get free of everything except the space where things have been.” -Nicole Krauss
You cannot escape the space where people have been. Your memory of them will fade, and you will forget the exact arrangement of their facial features, and even if you do manage to remember that–time will pull down the lines and rearrange the shape, and loosen the skin from the cheeks, and they will lose their hair and grow shorter, stumpier, smaller. But you can try and remember them always as they were.
I didn’t know her very well; compared to others, I didn’t know her at all, but to see the shape of her absence in the lives of so many is enough for me. The shape of her absence is a big fucking gap. A site of demolition. What a life. What an impression to have made in such a short time. Is that enough? Is that enough for a life? I would like to think so. Even if she didn’t move mountains and save lives and do anything that will be cited in the future by big important people at big important places, the impression she made can never be removed. It will never be forgotten. There will always be a space of her, for her, within the hearts and lives of everyone who continues on while she is gone. She has stopped in the physical sense, but she will continue to carry on within her friends and family. She will be there at the dullest of their days, at the most poignant moments, at the same times she would have been physically, if she could. I guess if there’s anything we should be doing, then maybe that is the most important–to make an indelible impression. To forgive the negative impressions of others, or maybe not, because even a negative impression is still a memory, still a form you’ve left with someone. Still a name you’ve given to yourself, created for yourself. Still evidence of the life you lived, of the person you were, even if you were only that person in that moment.
I’m sad. I’m sad, not for myself really, because the space she took up in my life was small, but still it wasn’t negligible. I’m sad because I am witness to the space she took up in the lives of so many others. I’m sad because I witnessed the effect she had on people. The joy her presence brought; the actions her presence sparked; the people she could bring together; the people she connected. The memories she created. I am a spectator to this one. I am sitting in the stands. I am watching the team struggle, but I can only continue to cheer them on. I can offer no advice; I cannot pitch in and try to turn the game around. I just have to sit and watch and hope they can do it. Hope they can pull through.
What are we doing here? We come and we try and sometimes we do our best, but a lot of the time we just fuck things up. Most of the time we feel like we are fucking up (no, just me?). And life is hard. But there are good things in the world. So we cope. So we get up early and meet our friends and go for a run and eat our vegetables and stress out over the little things: we do our taxes, and speed through the yellow light, and don’t tip the server enough, and lie to our parents, and lie to ourselves, and don’t fully prep for the upcoming meeting… and I’m doing it again.
Life just is, and maybe I should stop trying to make sense of it. Just when I think I have it somewhat figured out…just when I feel like I’m coming to terms with everything and I’m at peace, someone leaves. Someone dies, and the world becomes smaller and sharper and it hurts, and I’m back at square one, mumbling and rambling and feeling detached. Mostly because I find myself wondering why we make the rest of it matter? Why we make the rest of it count, when it seems like most of the time, all that should count is each other. All we should care about is one another. Maybe that’s too much. I guess I know it is too much. We can’t carry the weight of one another around on our shoulders every day and expect to be functional, which is why we’ve filled up on so many arbitrary and petty details to begin with. Do we take the time to feel everything when the only constant is absence? We just carry around the spaces that were and rearrange as new people take shape and add to our puzzle? I don’t know if I can handle the obligation anyway because I am continuously reminded of how much an absence can hurt. How it can take you by surprise at the most random moment, the initial shock–the lump in your throat, the sting at the back of your eyes, that moment your voice catches and you realize what’s happening. And then you’ll never really forget it again. The pain of someone’s absence. It doesn’t matter what takes them away, we will still sit and wait for them in some form or another. At one point in time or another. We will trace the shape of them in the palm of our hand and try to hold on to that as we continue. We will even return to it, despite the petty distractions that threaten to lessen our memory. That threaten to take us away. I keep thinking I’ll hit this plateau of adulthood where things just suddenly make sense and become easier and hurt less…but then I reason that I’m 26 and that likely no such plateau exists, anywhere. It’s some mirage we spotted. It’s some legend we’ve been told. A fairy tale we created. I keep trying to wrap things up in tidy, neat boxes. I keep trying to structure and give shape to the things that are like balls of clay…workable. Even at their most structured and formidable they are still malleable. And then the shape changes and I can’t…I keep re-gifting these ideas and emotions to myself and I’m getting tired. What’s that definition of insanity that people always reference?
“…doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Well, aren’t we all a little bit insane because we wake up and essentially are doing the same thing over and over again, yet expect different outcomes everyday. I don’t know if that’s insanity or optimism, but it certainly seems a little ridiculous to me some days. Most days. All the days when I have any time to stop for a moment and think about the life I’m living. When I’m not just trying to make time to eat, sleep, sweat, and shower. I guess it’s easier to get caught up in the little things. Obviously, when I sit and wonder about the big things, I end up coming to no conclusion whatsoever and can only distract myself to stop. But when it’s all over, when I’m done, will I be happy with all those little things? Will I wish I had stopped with the little things and devoted my life to questioning all those big, ridiculous things and never having an answer? Even though that may be terrifically unsatisfying, would that be a better alternative? I see why we all put on the disguises; why we all fit ourselves to the checklist and go down it until we die. I see why. It’s so hard, out here…outside of the box. It’s easy to feel aimless. It’s easy to feel small and worthless. What does this matter? In the grand scheme of things? In the great big world? But it does. It does matter. It has to. It is all relevant. We matter. If only to one another. “We are all connected, and everything, everything, everything matters.” (-Ron Currie, Jr.)
Dear Life (or whomever it may concern): You can’t keep doing this to my heart. Or my brain, for that matter. All this dissonance.
“I don’t even know what I’m saying, but I’m praying for you.” -Lana del Rey
“It’s late and I’m awake, staring at the wall, open up my window, my head floats out the door. No one else around, and a shimmer takes my eye, I lift my head, I’m blinded by the sky. Feel my weight in front, following the sound, it moves away so fast, I fall down to the ground. I know there’s more to come, jump back to my feet, and I only see ahead of me” -Bag Raiders
Do I live in the past, or do I just spend too much time trying to possess the lost?