It’s been a long while since I’ve written a blog post. I have written visa applications, I have written responses to the agents of people who used my own allegations of sexual assault to hurt me, I have written to my grandmother, I have written to my friends, I have written legal proceedings for divorce and for marriage. I have written applications for jobs or scripts or responses to invitations to auditions for token characters.
I still haven’t written enough.
Tonight, David Bellwood, a colleague I greatly admire, wrote something that expresses everything I’ve thought on any evening out under the sky since I was about two years old:
“Just read a few too many tweets this evening. The sky remains beautiful despite our behaviour beneath it.”
I sometimes wish for this world to end, for us to at least realise we need to stop hurting each other, stop bringing new people into this impossible labyrinth, to find out what actually happens when we have to ask people and other animals to go to unbearable planets because there’s not a cohesive possibility we can reverse the harm.
But the sky remains beautiful.
I’m drinking a Natty Boh right now. Where I went to college…where I got a scholarship at age 12, and another at age 15, so that was where I had to go. It’s in the middle of nowhere. You are between two rivers. It is beautiful. The stars are immensely bright. At night, sometimes, the lights of “secret” Navy Air test flights send the strangest lights in your windows because they make no sound and none of the angles are right.
You wish on the small things. You look for a spray-painted $.70 beer can to celebrate the spring with everyone else, while cops chase you. The river and the sky are beautiful on Halloween, and you kiss someone in the middle of a hurricane. You cycle to school for months. You try to find someone at the campus health centre who doesn’t get hired by the state to excuse child abusers. Like they did to your father. You fail. You get pneumonia.
The stars don’t go away.
In London, I look up and I see the slight shifts in constellations that remind me I’m where I want to be.
I imagine my skeleton.
Hard and ambitious for where we belong.
I imagine the sand along the Thames as disintegrated bone. Worn away by the currents.
In space, you get pulled apart by a vacuum. In a black hole, you get contorted at drastically different rates for every centimetre of your body. Deep enough underwater, your ribs contract in on themselves.
On land, nearly everything is malleable.
Sorry. I only had one last sip of my beer, so I went to get another one.
It’s like, you see, I got this hamster. He was very, very small and had no hair. He was sick. So, I had him for two days and his heart gave out.
This house is used to that, more than me. Everyone who used to live here has died of cancer. That’s the truth.
I wanted to give him some good days. He ran around a lot. I think he liked it. I don’t know.
I got a new hamster later. He escaped a lot.
We did nights in the basement with flashlights and buckets and food. He could run 100 miles in one night. That’s a beautiful race.
You never have to win.
I had one more hamster, one I got at the beginning, who finally cornered him and ate his face until he died.
And the thing is, that’s what hamsters do.
I named the last hamster Sagan. The one who is in a Lemon Jell-o box in the backyard, with no face.
He liked exploring. He would run over everything and sniff everything and develop rearrangement strategies for his toys the likes of which I’ve never tried in my own house, back home.
You write down everything while holding on. Address, but not your first kiss. Height and hair colour and two-day intercontinental trips to a memorial service when his lungs filled up, but not who else died that year. Text messages and every place you’ve slept, but now when or how you two first fucked.
It’s not invisible. When you turn around, all the shards are gleaming. Maybe they’re waiting for you, or something else.
Sticking out of the earth. Out of the wires. Off the satellites. Coming from our skin.
I used to take a towel outside. I couldn’t sleep well, often. Bad nightmares, all the time, insomnia.
So, sometimes, I’d lay down in the grass.
When the sky is clear, you see shooting stars. At least one an hour.
We had a tire swing in the back. I don’t imagine the landlord put it there.
One time, three of us swung on it after we got matching ear piercings.
Once, I had a party and the awful downstairs neighbour got drunk on our watermelon ice luge and never bothered us again.
Once, I promised the stars that if I could get to London, I would never go back.
Once, I held hands on a hill in Greenwich.
Once, I went to Greenwich and then a film screening and took my top off on the tube because it was unbearably hot and I never felt more free.
Once, the next morning, I tried as hard as I could to kill myself.
A couple weeks later, I sat on the steps to my own garden and we held hands and nothing was easy.
And there are good promises, and everything is still jagged-sharp for eons.
This, this is like solitary.
I’ve got fajitas and beer, so it’s actually not at all like that, really.
It’s just alone and separate from all the things you did your entire life.
I bought popsicles.
My granddad always like popsicles. He had two desserts every night and he died rail-thin of pneumonia.
They’re cold and smooth. And all these people are so rigid and angry or cold and truly impossible. And you just get back home when you don’t recognise anything - the stars or the grass or the timestamps on your letters
And once, I spent the better part of a night in a makeshift treehouse in the woods behind my college and I sung “Moondance” to everyone who was too drunk to stand up.
None of that has anything to do with what happens when the teeth sink in.
But the sky remains beautiful despite our behaviour beneath it.