Dear Dr. F,
I know you said I didn’t need you any longer. I know you said I was fixed, doing great. That I accomplished what I needed to. And I know you said that mainly because you were leaving me for another job in another town. And possibly you believed it as well but I don’t feel fixed. And I miss having someone to listen to me. To hear me. Most people don’t want to. Because I tend to talk in loops. I think out loud. What I often say is not the end, the solution, a declaration; it’s more the process, the contemplating, the what-if-and-also-here’s-another-thought. And sometimes the only way to stand that kind of thing is to be paid to listen to it. It’s circular. Like grief.
Because – sigh, I know! – it’s still there and maybe it’s more than just the one thing. Maybe it’s really grief and fear intermingled. Even as things are improving on the outside, they’re getting more tangled on the inside. Because really all I want to do most mornings, afternoons, evenings, is cry. Close my eyes in a quiet room alone and cry.
And I’d say that I miss having someone to hold me when I’m sad but I never had that to begin with. Never had that person who says, “I’ll make dinner. You lie down.” Or, “Why don’t you take a hot bath. I got this.” Ever. I’ve got to do this whole thing myself. It’s not so hard, usually, because I’ve always done it. But maybe, because you seem happily married, you don’t know what’s its like to never have someone who’s got your back, who’ll allow you to fail and not have to be responsible for everything all the time, who’ll allow you to not be perfect all the time. Because, let me tell you, it’s depressing. And tiring. I’m tired.
And so, yeah, I’m missing the things I never had and probably never will have. The thing most people around me seem to have and hopefully don’t take for granted. Or maybe they don’t and it just appears they do. I don’t know.
I can’t tell you any of this because you aren’t here. I could tell someone else but then I’d have to start all over and I don’t have it in me. I don’t have the time. This is one of my 60 hour weeks. I’ll have lots of time to think and no time to do my usual errands. I’m having to get creative – more than usual. My standards for cleanliness have continued to drop but clothes and bath towels still need to be washed. Food needs to be bought. Cats need to be fed. Plants need to be watered and protected.
I’m getting a lot more exercise but losing zero weight. Zero. It feels like failure. Everything feels like failure. And I can’t stop thinking, obsessing over death. And failure – of all the things I meant to do by now that I haven’t done. Over how little time is left. How I’m missing out on things. How I’m spinning around in space alone and cold. It’s still fucking cold outside. Why is it still cold?
So, I guess I should ask how you’re doing. How’s the new job? Have you moved yet? How are the twins?
But sorry, right now everyone else is doing great and I’m here sitting on my butt. My almost 50 year old butt which is about as attractive a thing to behold as it sounds. Jesus, how did I get here? I’m noticing that David Bowie sings about time a lot. Maybe I’ll write about that. I keep meaning to write about my favorite songs on each album but then I sigh (like Twig the Wonder Kid) and think who in the hell would want to read about that? I don’t even like to read about music, really.
And you should see the stack of magazines I have accumulated about Bowie that I can’t bring myself to read. And the dozens and dozens of saved articles and video clips on FBook that I can’t look at. I might be up to 40 saved items. There’s no time and then when there is…..I just can’t. I can’t wallow. I am living a life here. Death keeps showing up, taunting me, and celebrities keep dying at ages that end in a 9. Like my age right now. Do I have less than two months left or will I make it another decade? It’s not really about me, is it, except that I used to sit across from you and talk about myself. That was the whole entire point of our relationship. I talked, you sympathized, I talked some more. I got things done. You congratulated me on my getting things done.
Oh, and I got my passport application filled out! And got my photos made! And so there’s that. Do you think I’ll live long enough to actually go on the trip? My heart is good and the bloodwork I paid out of pocket for says I’m healthy but you can’t predict a car accident via bloodwork and an EKG. Platelet levels don’t show the possible gun toting maniac who might mug me for the $8 I probably have in my purse and then leaving me for dead like that deer leg I encountered in the park recently.
Sigh. I don’t have a tidy ending for this. I just thought you should know that I miss you. I’m not fixed. I’ll never be fixed. I don’t know what to do. If this is the human condition, then I’d like to come back as a cat or a squirrel next time around. How can I make that happen? I think I’ve earned a cat life. A good cat life, not a hard scrabble one. Or maybe a mini Shetland pony. I could totally handle that.