My first year of university was spent on the 15th floor of a residence on campus, the same summer Pearl Jam’s cover of Last Kiss became a radio staple for over 35 consecutive weeks. Unsurprisingly, it started playing in the elevator when I was once making my way to the cafeteria with a floormate, who winced upon hearing Vedder’s gravely voice and did her best to talk over it, explaining her dislike of sad music.
I was taken aback. Depressing lyrics and minor chords were an enormous comfort to me. As the sole child of a dysfunctional home, the only thing I could turn to when my parents started raising their voices at each other was a set of headphones and Discman, and I’d been hunting for sad songs like a ravenous stray ever since I was old enough to appreciate music.
The same became true of upsetting movies with difficult scenes. Moments of violence, tragedy, and grief would leave me glued to the screen. I was fascinated with the way people processed their pain (or didn’t). War films were particularly apt for this, as relentless years of depression caused me to relate to any soldier with a thousand yard stare. That glazed, expressionless face spoke of a person who had long given up on making sense of the countless horrors and endless suffering they had gone through.
The lights are on, but nobody’s home.
Continue reading “dead man walking”…
Dolores was more than a pet. She was capable of profound love (or burning hatred), and that loyalty made her feel more like a little person than a companion. With the ability to recognize people through windows, I’d often find her sitting on the sill at the front of the house, waiting to greet me with a chorus of raspy meows when I came home from work; a ritual only special guests may be privy to, if they’ve presented the princess with enough presents.
I adopted her in university, and she was a constant presence through many residences, housemates, girlfriends — we even shared our space with other cats for years at a time. When finding me after a few moments apart, she’d come lean against me with an arched back, inviting me to scoop her up, and I’d make a point of spending a bit of time to cradling her like a baby, even if I was just passing through. Sometimes we’d lie in the blankets and stare into each other’s eyes; there was as much comfort to be found in her purring as my warmth and attention.
I could tell our bond was special from the start, and being fearful that I’d never share anything like it with another cat again, always made sure to cherish every second.
Continue reading “Princess Dolly, 2003–2018”…
Fall has fallen, and I was ready. I was waiting. I was trapped for months on end, when my body wouldn’t cooperate or anxiety got the better of me. Even hearing Townes Van Zandt sing to me about snow in Raton was enough to make me miss winter again. I’d live vicariously in any form of visual media I could find, just to remember what it was like to feel the tingle of sun on my skin.
Now I can go out, but on my own terms and for the sake of it, not just therapy or a doctor’s appointment. It’s given Heather and I a chance to date — to dress up for each other, to trade secret glances about people who might be the other’s type, to hold hands and show each other off — instead of all the coping we were left doing after falling into the relationship so suddenly.
Rachel Weisz has nothing on dem brows.
Ever since she began her career, I found it difficult to deal with how little we saw each other. It felt like we were barely connecting or having meaningful experiences when we had such limited time. Now that she has a better shift and a carpool, we have an extra hour and a half together on weekdays. Combined with Jesse committing to hangouts twice a month to play games or jam, it’s made a huge difference in the way I approach my goals and plan my time.
They’re small steps, but after so much regression, I tend to be happy with any movement in the right direction. Still, I wonder if I’ll ever find a balance that won’t leave me frantic, one that’s conducive to getting my introvert needs met while letting me feel secure in my relationships.
Continue reading “keeping the rage tender”…
The vet’s office called this morning to tell me Leonard didn’t make it through the night.
I’ve been bawling randomly since. Uncontrollably. I haven’t cried like this since I was a kid. I suppose it’s the shock. I always expected Dolly to be the one to go first, and not for many years at that. I know I’ll be alright, I just need time. It was such a big decision to adopt another cat, and I jumped on it cause I wanted one so badly, and I made all the preparations, and nursed him back to health so many times, and now he’s gone so suddenly.
____’s been talking some sense into me. I blamed myself for not going to the vet sooner; maybe there’s something he could have done, maybe being on an IV earlier would given him the strength to recover. But I did what I thought was best at the time, and there are countless maybes in life, and there’s no way of knowing why he died because the tests weren’t finished. It could have been something congenital, which seems likely considering he was sick most of the time.
Continue reading “Goodbye, little buddy”…