A Conversation With Death: Vignetted.

I wrote this to answer a question on Quora. I enjoyed writing it so much that I needed to include it in my blog. The original can be found here. Enjoy.

~*~*~


“So, what will it be this time, love?”

I sigh. “This is a predicament.”

“You knew the whole time, love, somewhere inside you. If you think of it now, you know it’s true. It is all here for you. You chose to not look. You always do.”

My fingers rest on the edge of the tea cup in front of me as I stare out the window. I am absorbing what they just said, and it is taking me a minute.

I chose not to see, they said.

The sky has changed colour two hundred and sixty three times since I’ve been sitting here. I have been counting them without even thinking about it, a roll call of shades. Azure, fuchsia, eggplant, rose, coral, marigold, chartreuse, forest, deepening to an inky black before lightening back to a turquoise, garnet, slate, fire…

When did the sky start changing colours? I seemed to recall it only being variations of one shade, at one point in time.

There is a shift in the air that suggests a door opening or closing in the near vicinity, but I can’t take my eyes off the changing sky to see where the door is, or if anyone else has entered this place. I might lose count.

I get the sense that they are sitting with me, at this antique, gnarled-looking table. Every time I glance over to where the oversized chair is opposite me, competing in age with the table between us, they fade around the edges so I cannot quite make out their identifiable features so I know what I am looking at. I know there is someone there, though. It is like my eyes will not focus enough on them to really see them.

I can feel them, though. I can feel their breath on my hand, resting on the table next to the tea cup, where my other hand’s fingers play with the edges. I feel tiny prickles on my skin. It doesn’t hurt, it just feels mildly tingly. I want to move away from it, but also toward it. I can feel something graze me periodically, brushing my cheek, the back of my neck, the edge of my elbow, curl around my ankle, like a wisp of air that has lost it’s way from the rest of a wind.

How long have I been sitting here, sipping earl grey out of this beautiful china? The cup was large enough for a good sized cup of tea, but felt feathery fragile in my hands. It has a beautiful pattern on the sides of it that moves a little so the details are hard to focus on, kind of like them. It provoked me to touch the edges of it, making sure I was caring for it while holding it and drinking for it; showing it affection, even.

I don’t actually know if a minute has passed. It could have been an hour, or maybe a year. I could have been sitting here with my index finger tracing the edge of a china cup for a decade. Maybe it’s been millennia.

I chose not to see, they said.

The cushion on the matching chair under me is soft. My hips don’t hurt at all. Usually, if I’ve been sitting in the same position for a while, my right hip starts to protest a little. Now that I’m thinking about my physicality, I take note of the fact that my hip isn’t hurting. I uncross my legs, resetting my posture, and cross them the other way. My right foot curls around the back of my opposite calf, the muscles of my legs tightening against each other.

I remember reading somewhere that if you cross your legs too much, the veins on them struggle and become visible, creating spiderweb designs on thighs that a lot of women crinkle their noses at the prospects of having. I can’t remember not having those tiny visible blue lines here and there on my legs, or if they started appearing at a point, or if they’ve always been.

Maybe I’ve always been sitting here.

“If I chose to see, what would happen if I looked? How many times have there been, can you tell me that, at least?” I asked.

“You always choose blindness. You’re all the same, when it comes to that. You look away.”

“Everyone?”

“Well, not everyone. Most.”

“Okay. What now, then?”

“Now, you get to choose to look and never go back, or leave me.”

“But, I’m not done with living. I’m not ready.”

“I know, love. I didn’t expect this one, of them all, to change your mind.”

“It was pretty good, this time.”

“You say that every time, love.”

“This one seemed particularly good.”

“How do you know? Do you remember the others?”

I thought about this for another two hundred years, at least.

“No. I dream about them, though. I have seen glimpses of others in my dreams. Tiny vignettes into the rest, and the vignettes fade very quickly upon waking. They feel subliminal in my unconsciousness, like interlopers.”

“You can see them all if you look, but that means you will not go back again.”

Tears were standing in my eyes.

“You cry every time, too, love.”

“I just, I cannot imagine not going back. There’s too much to do, and see. Have you been there lately? It’s beautiful.”

“You do not have any idea how many times those words have passed over your perfect lips, love. I know. You tell me all about your time, every one.”

My hand suddenly tightens around the tea cup, crushing it. The cup was so delicate that it turned into dust in my palm.

“I have to go back.”

“I know you do, love. I’ll be here, waiting, when you’re done. We will see each other again, and you can decide that time if you are ready to look.”

“I’m sorry.” Why am I apologizing to Death? I feel remorse, suddenly, for abandoning them. “Will you be sad if I go?”

“Oh, no. I can wait. I have been waiting for you forever, and will continue to do so.”

“That’s sweet.” I squint at them, trying to see who I am speaking with. They are familiar, and alien, all at once. They look like no one, and every single being I have every laid eyes on. “You’ve been with me the whole time, yes? Thank you. I appreciate your patience with my leaving, and your being here when I come back.”

“How can you say that? You never remember the other times.”

“… I suppose that’s true. I will miss you.” I know this is an empty statement, because according to them, I don’t remember each time I am here. That must be infuriating, I thought for a moment, and then I remember that Death has to be the most patient, and can only keep me when I want to be kept.

“I appreciate the sentiment.”

“I feel compelled to go, though.”

“I know, love. Go. I can wait.”

“You’re perfect.”

I could not see the expression on Death’s face, but I want to say they were smiling.

“You have no idea.”

~*~*~

Relationship Anarchy Discussion: November Edition

Kale of Relationship Anarchy and I have been hosting a discussion group in Vancouver in conjunction with some Facebook group-based community (Relationship Anarchy, Relationship Anarchy Vancouver). This group was on the smaller side, but the conversation was very in-depth, and rewarding. I included some links that touch on some of our conversation. Since the conversation was flowing so naturally, the last section of notes is more random than usual but I felt the ideas shared were wonderful. Here are the general notes on what was covered.

What is RA?

~ the individual is more important than the system or structure
~ https://mic.com/articles/126346/what-s-your-true-sexual-orientation-the-purple-red-scale-is-here-to-help-you-find-out#.EQbIdpLHO
~ what does romance even mean? romanticism could be fallacy in some forms of connection; why do we call connections “romantic”?
~ “How Romanticism Ruined Love
~ familiarity can lead to unintentional attachment; proximity to people develops connections sometimes without them being on anything really tangible
~ poly can prioritize romantic/sexual connections, and a lot of them at once
~ placing value on the time we spend with people as indicative of care: still a choice we’re making to show we care that way, or accept care that way

Jealousy

~ can be a blanket term for other bad feelings
~ entitlement is very wrapped up in the idea of jealousy; we feel entitled to possess something, and wronged that it is being expressed elsewhere, or not ours
~ we are ultimately responsible for our own emotional reactions ourselves. others can help us with them, but they are ours. “I can hug you while you think about this”
~ thorough discourse about emotional abuse, gas-lighting, power dynamics
~ people are messy, and every relationship is different because of that
~ giving people the space and empowering them to change and grow is facilitating their autonomy

Miscellaneous

~ comfort with taking risks within non-monogamy comes with having done so, survived, and learned from mistakes
~ change is scary; we are okay with children growing in changing, up to a point, and then we expect them to stop and be something static, which is pretty ludicrous
~ why would you want someone you love/care about to stay in a relationship or situation that is not empowering them, or helping them grow?
~ short relationships and interactions can have as much impact as things that last for long periods of time
~ treating relationships like stolen cars: drive them as hard as you can and see where they go
~ can we engage with people less experienced in non-monogamy: is that a power dynamic that is unbalanced when people aren’t dealing well with their emotional processes around non-monogamy?
~ mental health and relationships: how are we sensitive to people’s particular neurological status or sexuality/queer status?
~ When Your Partner Has Anxiety: A Meltdown Guide
~ cognizance around the space we have available for relationships to take the forms they are naturally inclined to take is important
~ good boundaries are very important to not ending up in a relationship that we didn’t consent to.
~ banding together to support people who need more support for periods of time is a great benefit about non-hierarchal and anarchistic relationships
~ social fallacies of polyamory and other forms of non-monogamy are not unlike the 5 geek social fallacies.

The discussion groups occur once a month on the first Tuesday at the Tipper Restaurant and Review Room.