Curious, these feelings

I just found out that one of my best friends has cancer.

What’s curious is that I have not been thrown into a massive tizzy by the news. The old me would have been. I’d have had a knot in my stomach and a sense of impending doom that I couldn’t shake. I’d have become so keyed up that I’d have screamed at everyone. Every little thing would have been a huge issue for me. In short, I’d have become unbearable because I couldn’t bear the anxiety.

Why the change? Well partly I think it’s the Effexor. And partly because her cancer is a relatively slow type which is still in very early stages. There’s every chance that she’ll be fine.

Perhaps it’s something darker. Perhaps it is, as I have long suspected, that once you actively wish for your own death, or experience the death of someone who meant everything to you, it’s never far from you. It becomes a kind of silent companion, always sitting off to the side, waiting for you to make your decisions. It’s not scary anymore, just… there.

Or maybe I’ve just learned that fear accomplishes nothing. Or that there’s nothing I can do for her. One lesson I’ve finally learned is that you can’t ever save anyone else. Ask Orpheus.

I wrote the above yesterday on my Live Journal. All night, I thought about what I’d written, and the idea kept coming back to me: Death makes a lousy boyfriend. This morning I wrote this poem, and felt like sharing it:

Death is a lousy boyfriend.
Oh, they told you not to get involved with him, but did you listen?
They said “He’ll take everything, leave you with nothing.”

But you were sure they didn’t see him the way you did,

The kindness in his eyes,

The soft forgetting of his kiss.

So now it’s over, and you want to get on with your life, but he won’t move out.

He sits at the table, picking food off your plate

And reads the newspaper over your shoulder,

Commenting on everything.

“Shut up,” you say. “Get out of my life.”

But he just smiles and calls you “Suicide Girl” in that soft voice of his.

“I never lied to you. You knew what I was.”

He tells you “You’ll want me again someday.”

Then he sits down in a corner, or a dark closet,

Or goes to live under your stairs where you never look.

And the craziest thing is that you’re kind of glad to have him around.

He makes you feel safe.

Today is the first anniversary of my mother’s death. Much as I miss her and my father, my shadowy boyfriend seems to have effectively hidden himself away so that I’m no longer even aware of him. I can’t help but think that this is a Good Thing.


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