I mentioned the other day there’s something I want for my birthday. It’s here, now: in less than an hour, I’ll be 37. I planned on asking for a present. Only you can give it to me, it won’t cost anything and you don’t even have to get up. Sounds easy enough.
But then Megann died and I don’t feel like asking for anything. I don’t want anything.
Unless of course someone can remove the lead weights from the hearts of the people I love who suffer so terribly tonight. How much does that cost? How far must a person travel to do that? I swear, leave the weight with me. I’ll deal with it. Take theirs.
There are diamonds maybe a mile from my front door. Right now, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of diamonds in silk and velvet pouches in the Cartier and the Tiffany shops on Michigan Avenue. Under bulletproof glass, insured for billions, coveted around the world – those jewels are pebbles, worthless, every facet on every stone an insult to a woman who has just lost her child. Take your diamonds and choke the toilet with them. I’ll help you. I’ll help you see what they’re worth tonight.
Yesterday hurt more Wednesday. Today hurts more than yesterday did. I haven’t had the pleasure of grieving for a young person’s death in awhile; I forgot the way it twists and bends back on you, how it ebbs and then breaks all the levees. I keep having these other memories of my cousin and I keep seeing her smile and laugh at Christmas. Stuff I haven’t remembered in years. Oh, god. Oh, honey.
“It’s harder every day because of the permanence,” my sister said.
When someone uses precisely the right word, it clicks in the mind; when Rebecca said “permanence,” an iron door, rusty, old, as high as a castle wall came down in mine. It’s harder every day because of the permanence. I can’t believe I’ll never see her again.
If I don’t tell you about the damned present you’ll think I’m being dramatic. Look, I wanted to make a cute post full of links to various PaperGirl entries that folks seemed to really enjoy and I wanted you to send it to five of your friends. I love you guys much and I figure such lovable people probably know others who would like the blog, too – and I don’t use your reputation lightly and have never asked for referrals before. But I can’t do it. Writing something “cute” would feel like bamboo shoots under my fingernails. And I won’t ask you to recommend your friends meet me like this.