How Are You?

Go –
I’m not going to acknowledge –
Not – it. It. Nothing.
Just leave it alone. Leave me alone.

I’ve graduated dentists. As of last year, I no longer go to a pediatric dentistry, but instead go to a dentistry for grownups. It’s a five-minute walk from my house, just around the corner, and a sort of fancy (to me) experience. You have someone who cleans your teeth, another person who gives you a consultation, and they give you a baggie with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and coupons to take home at the end.
“Your teeth are beautiful, your teeth are wonderful, your teeth are in such great condition! Good job!” the lady who cleaned my teeth told me.
“You have five cavities between your teeth,” the consultant told me.

It’s been a week since those cavities were taken care of, and my teeth still hurt. I can’t sleep on my side. I wake up in the middle of the night with my gums pulsing. I can feel my blood pumping, through my teeth. I also can’t eat or drink very much. Hard things, like bread crusts, hurt. Hot things hurt. Cold things hurt. Sugary things hurt. It’s a kind of physical agony, my teeth are bringing me.

If you acknowledge it, if you tell something to leave, isn’t that admitting that something is there? And if you think something is where nothing is, does that cause the something to become manifest?
Something was created out of nothing. Everything was. He –
There is nothing there. And I don’t need to remind myself of that, because the act of reminding is the act of washing away, and the act of washing away that which is not there is to have created something to be put there in the first place.
If you make it go away, you simultaneously stick it there.

The day we found out about Edward’s suicide was the same day a lot of people found out whether or not they were accepted into an Ivy-league school. The next day, there was regular high school to go to. I remember sitting in my economics class, trying to arrange my thoughts and act normal. It wasn’t working very well. All around me, people were whining about deferrals and rejections. These people were devastated, as I was in shock. I hadn’t applied to any Ivies, mainly because I hadn’t wanted to spend another four years with people exactly like my classmates. Only, judging from the dejected looks on most of the faces in the room, that wouldn’t have been a problem, anyway. We were all in two very different worlds.
“I have cupcakes!” one girl announced, walking into the room holding a tin of mini cupcakes in one hand, and a tube of frosting in the other. “These are for all the people who have just heard the worst news of their life.”

It was bizarre. I stared at my class. Did these people really believe that this was the worst news of their lives? Was it?
They didn’t need the cupcakes. I did. I actually had just heard the worst news of my life; I should be eating all the cupcakes. I stood up to, I didn’t even know, grab them all? Take them out of the hands already grabbing at them? Throw the tin onto the floor? Then I remembered that it was Lent, and I had given up sweets. I couldn’t even eat the food that should have comforted me.

Go away. I’m not saying this out loud, I’m just thinking it in my head. To speak would be to make this real, but I can’t control my thoughts. I can’t marshal them anymore.
I’m sitting in class participating more than I’ve participated all year, because if I keep my mouth running, if I keep saying the things on the outer edges of my mind, I won’t have time to delve into my deeper chaos. Just talk, and talk, and laugh, and say nonsense that sometimes makes perfect sense, and don’t think too much.

“Question on your belief in ghosts,” he said.
“Do you believe that ghosts are restless spirits that wander our realm,” he said.
“I think ghosts are manifested ideas,” I said.
“I think people can create their own ghosts by fixating on ideas they can’t completely accept/work out,” I said. “And it’s possible that they can work in other ways, too. I don’t know.”

“How are you?” that random somewhat friend asked.
“I’m fine, thanks, how are you?” I answered. I’m in agony, I thought.

It’s come to the point where I’ve realized I don’t want to be alone. I’m slightly afraid of it, wary. When I’m alone, there’s nothing to distract me from my thoughts. Nothing, and lately all my mind wants to do is turn Edward back into a ghost and plunk him down into a chair to talk to me. Only this time, I wouldn’t be in denial about it. This time, I would be aware of my own manipulations. It would be a deliberate step into madness that I’m too responsible to take. Last night I made toffee, to distract myself. That lasted until the baking was done, and then I was stuck with a tray of candy too sweet and hard for my teeth to handle. I’m in the same spot I was three years ago: heartbroken, and unable to eat to take my mind off things. To take my mind off of what it is not supposed to be on.

It’s weird, advancing through life with the ever-present possibility of going off the rails – purposefully. At this yearly checkpoint, my own New Year’s, I’m in a much better place than I was last year. Little by little, I’m getting through the bereavement. I’m improving. But it’s still so hard, still so sad, and I am so tired. It’s that sadistic tired where you can’t even sleep, because as your eyes close, your mind is wide awake. I am in agony. Mentally, physically, emotionally.

Cheers to a new year.


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