An Inventory of Losses
How do you mourn when you’re still cataloging all you’ve lost? You hold the days you have left, grateful for even having them.
Remember when home was a place you returned to? An unfinished canvas that housed our pots and pans, books and dead plants, dirty sheets and clean clothes? We told ourselves we’d finally get a frame for that picture, and this would be the year we’d no longer be a cactus killer. Our homes were boxes where we landed, not barracks we retreated to in defeat from the world outside our doorstep.
We’ve become hermit crabs trapped in our cramped shells.
Now, we tend to the care and feeding of sourdough starters like they’re small children. We wait for the mail to come. Our phone and laptop screens are proxies for our love. We’ve lost our sense of touch. We play the same movies on repeat because they’re the only certainty — we know how the plot will play out and mouth all the lines, and there’s comfort to that, the knowing. We set off the fire alarms because we can’t gauge the heat. Our homes are gluttonous to to the nines — we tell ourselves we can buy all that we need.
We have all that we’ve ever wanted.
We’re told our homes are the only safe spaces to go, but no one tells you about the loneliness; you craved quiet once, but now there’s too much of it. No one tells you how easy it is to lose your sense of touch or reality. When you’ve no family, it’s easy to retreat to the fiction you create inside your head because that’s the only way you can cope.
You miss your pop — he was the one hurt you never saw coming.
You think about him a lot, in this 800-square foot box that is your tomb, and you replay the final texts. The callous words. The laughter you feel through a screen. This was the man who cooked thin steaks and mac and cheese in a basement apartment when you were thirteen. He wept at your college graduation. Remembering that time when you had that resale business and he ran through an outlet store holding a glitter heel. Hay in his hair, smelling of leather and barn. Waving a five hundred dollar shoe.
You rarely hurt deep and often, but loss seizes you. Puts your heart on pause. Reminds you in the end…