Saturday, November 10, 2007

In an Instant (A working piece, in memory of Sue Nott)

Driving down the highway, my foot detached from my body, the speedometer cranks higher and higher without me realizing. Music tears at my heartstrings. I am on the move again. Maybe if I go faster I will be able to out run all that is chasing me? Like walking through the streets of an unfamiliar city alone at night the hairs on my neck stand erect and I break into a sprint. My car, heaving at the seams, is filled with her stuff. I feel sick to my stomach thinking about it. The music, a compilation of songs, was carefully selected by a friend to bring me here. To this place where tears stream down my face, and I am on fire with pain and anger. Fuck YOU!! I scream at no one…

The voice, a raspy femme exhales as the shrill notes of a piano strike one at a time. Her breath lingers as if she understands what I am feeling.

I have done it again
I have been here many times before
Hurt myself again today
And the worst part is there’s no one else to blame”

I flash back a few hours, and I am in her closet. Shopping? Hmm, what fits? What do I like? What will I use? I am lying on the floor, sweat dripping down my forehead, trying not to vomit. A combination of the dozens of Cosmopolitans I drank last night, and the fact that John (Sue’s boyfriend), is walking me through his dead girlfriends’ belongings. Numbly encouraging me to take what I want. Someone has to, and I want it to be you.

The voice brings me back.

“Be my friend
Hold me
Wrap me up
Fold me
I am small
I need it
Warm me up

Unbreathe me”

I am floating along the highway, a pattern that has become familiar, safe. When all else fails keep moving. The precarious line between order and chaos makes me taste the salt of life. Makes me feel all that I am scared to miss out on.

I flash again, a month. We are sitting at the bivy in our pink jackets giggling, basking in the last of the sunlight. Sue is handing me a smashed Choco Pie that she carried up in her pocket. I am scared. She is laughing at me making me forget my fear.

I am in Sue’s tent on the Kahiltna Glacier. It is snowing and she is giving me a facial talking about boys, politics, business, fashion. She is laughing as I tell her about the book I am reading about Rwanda. How I need to go save the world. Tomorrow, she says, today we will climb.

We are in Chamonix and we have drunk too much wine. We are giggling in the small shoebox that she calls an apartment.

We are drinking coffee and lusting over the topo of the Moonflower, on Mont Hunter, planning trips galore.

My eyes blur. The centerline on the road begins to shake. Ears ringing, the speakers crackle. My hand reaches to play the song again and I wonder how long I have been pushing the repeat button. I cannot let go of this feeling. Simultaneously ravaging my heart and making me feel alive. I cannot let go. It hurts to remember, but what if I forget?

Ouch I have lost myself again
Myself and I am nowhere to be found
I think that I might break
Myself and I feel unsafe

I flash again, yesterday. I am at her memorial. A gigantic photo of her soft, smiling, face looming over my shoulder as I choke on the words. My eyes cross. It is surreal. I have stood here before. Ten years ago. Speaking about my Dad. Grasping at memories. Knowing that is all, all I have left. The familiarity is sickening.

And again, this morning. I wake in a panic, dream still lingering on the tip of my tongue. She was there. She was blue, in the snow. She told me to give her stuff back. I asked where Karen was. She said she did not know. I told her we were looking for her. She said she knew.

Be my friend
Hold me
Wrap me up
Unfold me
I am strong
I need it
Warm me up

Unbreathe me

I am on the side of the road and I do not remember stopping. Snot dripping down my face, gasping for breath. Part of me knows. It will not work. No matter how far. No matter how fast I drive. It will always be there. Her stuff still in my car. And it is not just her stuff; it will always be there until I stop. Stop running.