tw: Suicide. Sorry. These words need to come out.

 

--

I'm thinking of you.

It's three in the morning, and I am at a burner regional. I'm stuffed into a tent during a thunderstorm. I am hiding, from the rain but also from literally everything else. Nothing is going well, and nothing has. I want to cry. I can't cry. I don't know why. Instead I'm doing this thing where I am moaning in agony, but it's being drowned out by the thunderstorm, and this makes sense to me.

You've been gone for a week. I say you've been gone, like you went to Hawaii and you're having a nice time. It's not like that. You're dead.

--

I was sitting in my office, and suddenly had the worst bout of vertigo I've ever experienced. I didn't know what it was, just that the world was very wrong. It took everything I had to simply sit in my chair and not pass out or throw up. It was the worst I've ever felt in my body, and that is really, really saying something.

I went to the hospital in an ambulance. The EMT promised me I wasn't going to die. They were right. I'm still here. Still breathing.

At almost the exact moment the the vertigo conquered me, ten floors above me and slightly to the right, you got up from your desk. You left the building, walked two blocks, and went to to the top of a parking garage. And you threw yourself off.

You were 28. My brain refuses to do this math.

Were I the kind of person that believed these coincidences meant something bigger, this would frighten me to my core. I can feel my brain wanting to latch onto that and find some meaning from this. I want to believe that it's all possible. But there are too many answers missing there. And it doesn't help me.

I'll never know. I'll never know what was in your head. I'll never know and I'll never truly understand the struggle and the fight you went through, no matter how many times we had talked about it. It's just not knowable. None of us will ever know.

"But still, but still," my brain bargains.

--

I'm thinking of you.

I'm at the pride parade, with our friends. But you are not here, and it's fucked up in ways that still haven't sunk in.

The weather is perfect, and our people are out here in the street, and they are covered in rainbows. I'm covered in rainbows. Rainbows were your favorite. That's an easy thing to know about you.

Queerness and gender, and all of the things that were mixed up in that, were what we talked about so much. I feel like I saw you for you, and you really saw me. We could talk about these things and meet each other where we were, even if it was hard. We were lucky like that.

My heart is heavy. I want to go home. Instead I grab everyone in reach and squeeze them as hard as I can. This is what you would have done. So you are here, as much as you can be now.

--

I'm thinking of you.

But of course I am thinking of you because I am at your memorial, with everyone else. I mean everyone else. It is packed.

I'm trying to hand out these little programs that they have printed up. I'm doing this because I knew you in so many different capacities that I recognize nearly everyone walking through the door: our friends, the people from the community, our coworkers, your sister, your in-laws.

I'm doing this because I have to be doing something. If I'm not doing something someone will come up and hug me and try to talk and all I'm going to be able to do is sob a little and mumble and not be a human being anymore. So I've got the programs in my hand, and I'm trying really hard to be a human being.

In about an hour I'm going to walk up to the front of the room and try to explain to everyone what is going on in my head. I don't know how I'm going to do that coherently, but fuck I have to try at least, right? I have to try and put the words to it because I have all of these words in here. I know people will understand that the words are a little stuck, and come out sideways and upside down and backwards. I know they will know.

This is how this part works. Show everyone the words we have. Hug and cry and breathe. This moment is right here. Breathe.

--

I'm thinking of you.

It's been seventeen days, and I should be eating lunch or something, but instead I am walking south on Wacker. There are thousands of people out here. I don't see any of them.

I don't see them because I am looking up.

One aspect I suspect I'll never get used to about the Midwest is the sky. In New York, the terrain flattens out the clouds. Wispy clouds, maybe puffy clouds. But flat. Mundane.

Midwestern clouds are impossibly tall, billowing as far up as they can reach, trying to escape the atmosphere and spread out into space. They are imposing, and I am awestuck. Enormous white cloud, exquisite blue sky laying beyond. I try to take a picture of them, but I am always disappointed by how they come out.

I am looking at the clouds and I am wishing you were here to see it, because I know that you would understand how amazing this sight is. I know that you would see it the way that I see it, and you would also be standing there stuck dumb by this amazing scene. I know you would get it. After all, this is your land and your home. I might be here for a very long time, but this was yours.

But you're not here. And you can't be here. And you'll never be here. Somehow I'm supposed to find my way to work that out, and I have no idea how that will even happen. But I know it will somehow, even if it seems impossible. Because everything is impossible right but it can't always be.

But I'll be thinking of you. I can't not.

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