You sit in a chair, touched by nothing, feeling
the old self become the older self, imagining
only the patience of water, the boredom of stone.
You think that silence is the extra page,
you think that nothing is good or bad, not even
the darkness that fills the house while you sit watching
it happen. You’ve seen it happen before. Your friends
move past the window, their faces soiled with regret.
You want to wave but cannot raise your hand.
You sit in a chair. You turn to the nightshade spreading
a poisonous net around the house. You taste
the honey of absence. It is the same wherever
you are, the same if the voice rots before
the body, or the body rots before the voice.
You know that desire leads only to sorrow, that sorrow
leads to achievement which leads to emptiness.
You know that this is different, that this
is the celebration, the only celebration,
that by giving yourself over to nothing,
you shall be healed. You know there is joy in feeling
your lungs prepare themselves for an ashen future,
so you wait, you stare and you wait, and the dust settles
and the miraculous hours of childhood wander in darkness.
We have, it seems, entered a new phase of life. We have come through the initial storms of intervention and
the move to tackle alcohol addiction, and by all appearances, life seems better -- sometimes even good. Having stood our world on its head, and upended our power dynamic, He and I have reached a place of relative calm. We are feeling relieved, more connected and more intensely in love than we have in a very long time. Knowing what we now know, armed with some solid information, there is a sense that we may have managed to catch this "just in time," and perhaps dodged a much more difficult and damaging future.
It should feel like a real victory. Sometimes it does -- feel that way. Sometimes, this feels exactly the way our triumphal passage through the challenges of bariatric weight loss surgery does -- as if we have met a towering challenge head on and conquered. At one level, we are all happy that this hasn't been more difficult. That is the good news.
Except that -- from His perspective, this battle may have been won, but not without enormous loss. Today, His quiet and sad wistful words came across my computer screen -- mourning the loss of any sort of potential for EVER being able to experience "celebration" again. How, He lamented to me, can we ever celebrate without food and drink? What can ever replace that part of our lives?
I have no good answer for those questions. Intellectually and philosophically, I've argued that we will need to reframe the whole concept of "celebration" and create a new version of that for ourselves. That is probably a good, therapeutic sounding answer to His insistent question, but in practical terms I have no idea how to make that happen. There is some very real likelihood that anything I might suggest or imagine will be viewed as pale and dull, lifeless and silly. Nothing I can offer will ever feel as "good" to Him as alcohol does in His memory.
Add to the loss of alcohol, the previous losses of unfettered food consumption, the loss of tobacco, the limitations imposed by osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis, the quieter sexual tides of waning testosterone -- and it feels to Him, not surprisingly, that life stretches out ahead of us: long and healthy but not very exciting or interesting. I am weighed down by His sadness and sorrow.
our lungs prepare themselves for an ashen future?