Saturday, May 03, 2008

down the drain

I dropped a fake diamond stud down the drain; one of my favourite pairs of earrings. I could see it with a flashlight, sitting about 6 inches down, in a bed of who the hells knows what, on some kind of a ledge.

I was running late for work. I put in another pair of earrings and decided to think about what to do during the day and come home with a plan.

That night, I felt like I was at the hospital doing some kind of procedure on a patient, only the patient was my sink. I could still see the earring. I put the flashlight down for a second, went to my purse and took out a piece of gum, which I chewed while I looked through my utensil drawer in the kitchen for some kind of a tool. I found a chopstick that I thought could fit the bill. When the gum was just soft enough I stuck it on the fat end. Holding the flashlight with my left hand, I slowy lowered it into the drain. I felt like I was playing that old game Operation and that if I touched the side it would buzz. I took a deep breath and lowered the chopstick until it stopped. I pressed the gum into the earring trying not to think about what might come back out with it. I carefully withdrew. An inch from the opening, the gum fell off the chopstick, presumeably with the earring attached. And like that it was gone, into the abyss of hair and crud.

I gave up. I even ran the water, like if I wasn't going to get it, I might as well send it on it's way.

Later that night I stood over the same sink brushing my teeth and I remembered a phone call from many years ago. Tears rolled down my cheeks. It's amazing that it still does this to me. It's amazing that my brain takes me to these places. It's like acid flashbacks without the acid.

I was in my childhood room, but already in first or second year university. I picked up the phone to call Tamara back who was living in Vancouver with her boyfriend and their other roommate, the one who answered the phone. Tamara was out, she said, and asked if I had already heard the news.

"What news?"

She stammered something about how maybe she shouldn't tell me. Maybe I should just speak to Tamara. Blah, blah, blah.

"It's about Z", she said. "Apparently he killed himself."

"What do you mean, apparently? What happened?"

It had to be a mistake. Z lives in the same city I live. How would they know before me, all the way across the continent? I was angry at her for saying something like that.

"We don't have all the details, but he jumped off some bridge out there", she said.

As soon as she said it I knew what bridge. I knew it was true. I don't even remember her name.

Every once in a while I am hit with it, like everything else miserable in the world, it is hard to believe that humans can suffer as much as they do. It is hard to imagine he is dead, he died like that, that these events unfolded the way that they did, and that bad things happen every day, everywhere. It is hard to then get into bed and read a book. Hard to get up in the morning, shower and put your make-up on. It's hard to go look at condos with a realtor, to run on a treadmill at the gym, to sit in a theatre and watch the big screen. I've never been good at it; coming to terms with all of the crud. I can't figure out if it's guilt or fear.

It's so much easier when you don't look down the drain.

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