Monday, December 21, 2009

Reading is dangerous

I've been trying to limit my computer usage when I'm not at work so that I don't cripple myself right into unemployment, so I've been reading a lot more lately, curling up with the dogs and a hot drink by the glow of the Christmas tree. I'm afraid literacy has been kind of tough on me lately, though. I was given a book as an early Christmas gift by a friend, so I decided to start that one immediately the next night. It's a wonderfully written book that kept me turning pages; however, it's also a book that not only has a dead spouse, but also a dead dog. Awesome!

I love the friend who gave it to me, and I know she loved the book herself, but more than once since I finished it, I've had to wonder what she was thinking. I mean, honestly.

As hard as the book was to finish, and as hard as I cried at the end for my little dog who died nine months after A did, that wasn't really the remarkable moment for me.

Rather, that was the point late in the book where I turned the page and at the top of the next was my sweetie's name, shared by a minor character in the book who was never to be mentioned again after that. But it kind of stopped me in my tracks. I couldn't stop staring at those five letters, though I wasn't aware of it until I shook myself out of my reverie, kind of stunned that it had that effect on me. And my eyes kept drifting back to his name as I finished that page, the next, and even after I turned the page I found myself flipping back to it. I'd been hypnotized, it seemed.

I think it was because I was desperately thirsty to have someone say his name other than I. I mention him daily, I'm sure--I don't keep track, but his name crops up in a thousand stories or experiences. But I am the only one in my life who speaks of him by name, who tells those stories, because, his family and friends having drifted away, I am the only one who has stories of him. And he will never write his name on a post-it note and send it to me again.

Obviously, the author didn't know my A. The writer didn't put that there for me, but nevertheless, I drank my fill of A's name on the page as if he had, reading and rereading it, as if it were some kind of marker that he was here. I have no other. I have the carpet of ferns that cover the floor of the redwood forest where his ashes were scattered by others, and the rain there that mixed with my tears, and the fallen tree burgeoning with a million other lifeforms that I tried very hard to make a symbol for my fallen self, a reminder that much life comes from death...all life, really.

I don't need a gravestone. I don't need his family and friends who have gone on without me, forcing me to do likewise. But I didn't know until that very moment how much I needed to hear and see his name, not his pseudonym, not even the nickname I called him out of love. But him before he even knew me; him as a living, breathing person who walked this earth and mattered in his own right.

It's funny, how I can still be surprised at how grief works on me, and through me, and I through it. Just when you think you've seen it all, you find out otherwise.

No comments:

Post a Comment