a photograph on the table…

“I know why we try to keep the dead alive: we try to keep them alive in order to keep them with us. I also know that if we are to live ourselves there comes a point at which we must relinquish the dead, let them go, keep them dead. Let them become a photograph on the table.” – Joan Didion

But I’m not ready to let you go Cynthia, not quite yet.

Today its been 2 years since she died. She was a customer, a friend, a spirit animal. Her passing hit me harder than anything had for quite some time. For some reason I just can’t let her go. Maybe those loose unfinished ends to her story will never be enough for me.

She blew into my life with such force. This strong gust of wind that shook the cobwebs from my bones. She came storming through at a time when I was just about to give up. I felt like my time would never come, I felt like there wasn’t a drop of inspiration left out there for me. I felt like I was done before I even started. But she showed up and she rained down on me. I wrote about her all of the time. I was so fascinated and inspired. She encouraged me to remember everything. She made me feel like even though my life at this uneventful standstill that every day I lived was a piece of art.

She wasn’t afraid to put her life out there. In a few short meetings I knew everything about her, the exciting and the terrifying. Did I believe everything she said? I’m not even sure anymore. But I subscribed to her. I had faith in her words. Because even if she was creating these realities in her mind, she was somehow honest and pure to the core to me. Even when she came to me crying, for her life was still beautiful. She exhibited so much passion for everything even through times of misery, that I had to stand back in awe of her.

There was also her faith in me. The spiritual bond she believed that we had meant so much to me. I could feel it. She would come to visit me and I felt powerful. I had never felt powerful before. I felt like the tight grip that time had on my throat would release when she was around. I felt like there was still time in my life left to accomplish everything, just because she told me so.

Sometimes she scared me. It was in those times I felt like I let her down. The times that I would lose faith in her. Feel like I shouldn’t get myself tangled up in her life. I could have thought I was jumping into freedom only to get torn to shreds in whatever misery and chaos she had going on. She told me stories. Stories I’m not sure I could so easily tell. Brilliant stories. Brilliantly heartbreaking. Things I hope to God only existed in her mind or in the pages of a movie. But until I find out how she died, I will always feel guilty and imagine those terrible things she told me are what took her life. I wanted to help her, be a place for her to rest her head. But I just wasn’t strong enough.

So every day I write, it’s for you Cynthia. Sometimes its hard because all I want to do is write about you and I can’t just make up an ending for you. You’re not just some story I want to tell. You’re the catalyst for every story I want to tell. You’re the spark and the wind. I feel you in the air.

It hurts me to think theres no one else out there besides me that feels the loss of you in this world. But maybe its enough that you changed my life. Maybe I’m the end to your story.


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