All the (fucking) feelings

I don’t even know tonight, what it is. I don’t know if it would even help to pinpoint it, but it just feels like all kinds of things, everything.

Hurting and hurting. Like physically, in my chest and in my legs and my head. A heaviness, a sadness, a thick inarticulable aching sort of blanket tucked around me. Things feeling fuzzy yet poignant, tears rising and falling, rising and falling.

*

There is someone i knew, not very well, a young, very kind person. With a really beautiful singing voice, with an energy that I could feel when I was around them. A person I was drawn to, a person with an intrinsic sadness yet so much openness also. A person born in the wrong body who did so so much work to make it right for them, so they could feel at home. They finally furnished themselves, with all the right parts, and then they died. Suddenly, during Pride week, in this pandemic. I have no right to feel so sad about it but I do, I feel bereft, i feel robbed, it was not their time, they weren’t finished yet.

*

Earlier I did that thing where you’re just doing something normal and ordinary and then you find your vision blurry and your cheeks wet and it’s a surprise, almost, to be crying because there was no real preamble, no conscious thought or swell of discernible feeling. It’s a bit silly honestly, and i got self conscious about it and mumbled an apology to my wife (“sorry for being a baby”) and with great tenderness, she smoothed back my hair and said, “It’s okay. You’re *my* baby” and she meant it.

*

Like many people, i watched a black man be murdered in front of the world by a white police officer two weeks ago. Watched that man beg and call his mama and fight for breath, his cheek grinding the pavement, his neck under a uniformed knee. Watched him go unconscious while that huge white ugly face loomed above him, expressionless. I have been to births but I have never been there when someone’s life left their body. Yet, we all were. Strangers, millions of us. We all were there, and i don’t think I’ll ever be the same.

*

I wrote my parents a note this weekend, advocating for my daughter, to whom we still permit them occasional internet and phone contact. They’ve been pressing her for details about us, about our lives. Passing on kisses and hugs to us, as though everything is okay. Making her feel guilty and like she is betraying us. In my email i told them that I want them to think of her first, their granddaughter, and put her back at the centre of things – but not in the middle. Told them i hope she never has to reconcile the grandparents she has with the parents they’ve been to me. I also told them i threw their cards and cheques in the garbage, that they should keep their professations of love and money solely to her, coz i didn’t want them.

And that is true but it also isn’t true, because I do want it. The love, I mean. I won’t ever get it, I know that now, but I do want it. I do want parents who love me, who show it and profess it. I hate that it still hurts me that I don’t.

*

Someone i didn’t know very well read me today, in a way that was both unnerving and comforting. She saw me, somehow, with very little effort and called attention to a part of me i usually hide, with something that felt like love. I don’t know why she did that, it was brief like a cloud passing over the sun and then we reverted back to our usual roles. But I’ve found myself folding around that moment, hands cupped in to myself, holding close how she reflected me, with gratitude and also grief.

*

Father’s Day is coming up. I actually forgot about it this year until i was reminded, and then a realization slammed into my diaphragm, that i didn’t remember coz it’s not actually relevant to me. I don’t have a dad I can celebrate.

*

Our daughter made slime tonight, a new recipe. I saved the day from ruin with cheap hair gel from the grocery store – the internet lied, it was not the “Best Slime EVER,” and there was much crying, googling of rescue measures, and frantic phone calling. Though to be honest, after nearly every drop of that three dollar, priceless magical goo was dribbled in, as her eyes shone, as her small hands kneaded the fragrant sticky formula with the kind of bliss i can hardly recall, i would have bought three thousand more bottles, just to sustain that moment.

*

Today was a bad missing day, we each have those sometimes, even on the same day now and again. Because of travel limitations i don’t know when I’ll see her again, and she’s my best friend. She lives across the sea from me and things have been really hard lately but our love, in its intensity and magnitude and longevity, also takes my breath away. Tonight I just wanted her to be for-real close, not just imagining like we have to do behind our closed eyelids all the time, but like in the same room on the same couch feet tucked under us and i could reach out and grab her hand, close.

Squeeze it once, twice. Our signal that we’re right there, not leaving, through all of it. The breathing, the grieving, the minutiae of the seconds making up a day and the gains and losses and feelings.

All the fucking feelings.