It’s not about dying alone.  You were right, everybody dies alone.

It’s about this moment right now.  At 4am.  2am was just as bad.

It’s this aching emptiness between my arms, where my lover should fit.  This parched feeling on my skin, like every nerve ending is straining outwards to meet a touch that isn’t coming.  The barrenness of my tears.  Meaningless sorrow, here by myself.  Nobody is coming.  I am speaking to no one, crying out to no one.  It doesn’t matter that my desperation ratchets up a notch each day.  It doesn’t affect anyone but me, and I’m just an unheard voice in an empty space.  It doesn’t matter what the words are where there’s nobody to hear.  It doesn’t matter what’s written when there is no reader.  It just doesn’t matter.

It hurts anyway.  And then the meaninglessness of it hurts some more.

No, that’s crap.  I don’t care about meaning.   I just want to be held.

I put my hands on myself to remember.  My fingers on my ribs.  I try to imagine the lover who will break the drought, but there is no face.  I can’t make her real.

Everybody dies alone.  But I feel like I’ve started a long dying,  alone, right now.  Yes, death is at the end for all of us, but before that – we can be living, or we can spend the time dying.  I have a lot of living to do, but also I feel like the dying has started.

There’s an area of skin along the insides of my upper arms that feels a ghost of a lover.  It’s the most present and real absence.  It’s where an embrace should press, there and right on the centre of my chest.  I can feel it all the time, like emotional pins and needles.  Like the most gentle and accursedly bearable agony.  Accursed because if it was unbearable I could just break, and not have to bear it anymore.  But it’s a massive, massive pressure that is no pressure at all.  It doesn’t break me, so I have to go on bearing it, this vast absence.

I wonder who I could call, at 4am.  Run through my friends’ voicemail messages one by one.  Leave a message, or not?  Leave them worried and guilty?  Or if I wake somebody, hear them sleepily assure me it’s OK, anytime – how long before I’m alone again?  Ten minutes?  And still this emptiness between my arms.  Who can I ask – come now, come right now, hold me, creep under my blanket with me, let me wet your shoulder with my tears while my skin laughs with joy and relief.

Come now, come right now, come and hold me.  Whoever you are.


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