Furious. You are furious. Fury is hardly a passive emotion but here you are, two months deep into your law abiding stasis, buoyed up on boredom and internet news. The grotesque, awful and unjust tragedies skim around you like oil on water. You catch their outlines out of the corner of your eye. The silver lining (if you happen to be looking up at a different clouded sky) is that it is a miracle. A God-forsaken (a God-awful) miracle. How these tragedies can be there at your finger tips but way, way beyond your reach. The very fact of living is nothing more than coincidence.
What do you do with that weighted shadow, what do you do with grief?
There’s more (these questions are hardly rhetorical).
What do you do with the news of the loss of a person who had been your friend? And was and was and would have continued to be if only you’d kept in touch. Although the friendship had at the time been truly and beautifully steadfast in all its puppyish vulnerability, of course you hadn’t. And then what do you do with the knowledge of that friend’s grief? Perhaps in the last hours or days or months, or over the years that you didn’t know them, but could have. What do you do with that grief?
This grief too settles just on the edge of you. It is an intimacy you don’t feel comfortable with. An untoward intrusion like touching someone’s hand on the tube, or two summer bared arms sticky and pressed together until the doors open again (and for just a short time before the sun dries it up you walk home stuck tight to a stranger).
And what do you do with the small grievances? Petty arguments, small bouts of crying and too many nights of drinking. Do you remind yourself of the mornings when you are just coming into consciousness, and (mind momentarily blank), you are all and only the deep-bedded feeling of waking up next to someone you’re in love with. Even if, for reasons outwith your control, you currently don’t like them very much.
What do you do with all this grief, in all its various unpractical and complex sizes? What do you do when actually, at the heart of it, you are ashamed that you only ever tiptoe around the grief of others? Because you don’t know the half of it, on the edge of grief.