I want to die after you.
I want to die after you die. I want to outlive you.
That’s a weird thing to say. Why would you say that?
They had been watching Nurse Jackie on Netflix. It was cold in Vancouver, a wind hitting the window above their heads. They were lying on the matted carpet by the gas fireplace. The fire was on. The computer was off. Pillows were pushed behind their heads.
Because I want to outlive you.
This is all theoretical to you. It’s weird and I don’t like it. I don’t think death is real to you. You just say stuff but you don’t know what you are talking about. You don’t know about death.
I think about it all the time. But whatever.
Why would you say this? It’s so upsetting to me.
He turns toward her. He’s like a bear, thick, soft in places and strong. He hugs her and she relaxes a little.
Okay, Tell me why then.
Because I don’t want you to have to go through another loss. That’s all.
Wow. Okay. I’ll die first.
Before she left home and caught the #23 bus, Clare took out a black pen, ripped a piece of paper from her notebook and tore it into a small rectangular shape, the size of a matchbook. She carefully wrote “w i s d o m” in capital letters. She folded it in half, causing the W to smear against the M, put the paper in her pocket and headed out into the sunny, fall day, so mild she needed only a light jacket. She was deliberately walking away from the flow of the day, shattering it in two, to go to the forest.
Once off the bus, she moved down the trail into the dense green. The forest seemed to be breathing - inhale deep, exhale soft. She took her hand from her pocket. The paper caught on her finger and fell to the spongy ground where it came to rest between a rock and tree. The little word looked heavy on the ground, and when she walked over to it, she tripped and blamed the word. She kicked at it with her boot, trying to lift it by digging her shoe under the soil like she would if she were kicking a soccer ball, but it was dead weight. She wondered how a word could be so heavy. But it was not the word, it was her. She slowly and stiffly leaned down to pick it up.
The size of the fortune in a cookie, the paper rested in her wrinkled, thin-skinned, mulit-coloured palm. Could it fly, she wondered, and pursing her dry lips, she blew. The word took flight, fluttering low to the ground where it picked up a green reflection on it’s whiteness. It reminded her of the luna moth as it dropped gently into a small, delicate, yellow flower, smaller than the paper, and balanced precariously on the petals, dangling over the edges. Clare bent as low as she could, her back ached, and blew again. Up, up it flew, and Clare thought, ‘Oh no, it’s leaving. It is going up to be with the birds so that it can look down at this old forest and me.’ She thought of how tiny she would appear to it as it vanished into the sky.
‘I shouldn’t have tempted it, blown it away,’ she thought. ‘I should have let it rest on the flower where it was so exquisitely balanced. I was too playful, or reckless, and now it has abandoned me.’
She saw a patch of sunlight cutting through the trees, emerald greens illuminated by gold light. The air was wet and smelled fungal. Her feet sank into the porous earth, the rich dark soil, the moss foam carpet as she moved to the patch of light. She turned her face up, ‘Ah the sun,’ she thought. The sun’s warmth touched her nose like a mischievous child. She heard the forest’s whispering bird talk and tree creaks, the sound of growth and water passing over rocks somewhere, a small animal digging or hiding or playing hide and seek. She heard her own breath, mimicking that of the forest, and thought, ‘wisdom may go it’s own way. This will do for me.’
There are a thousand millions in a billion. If you count every second in a billion, starting from birth, it will take 30 years.
62 people have the same wealth as 3.5 billion others.
Last year, 85 people had the same wealth as 3 billion others.
Far far less people than1%, far far more of the nameless others.
The estimated cost for pipe repairs in Flint, Michigan, a town where most people live below the poverty level or a family of four lives on $24,000/yearly, which is $2,000 a month for four, $500 a week for four or just over $100 per person a week…for everything, housing, food, clothing, transportation, education, medical insurance, medications, doctors and dentists, tampons, toothbrushes and toilet paper.
The estimated cost for pipe repairs in Flint, Michigan, is nearly $800 million.
The estimated cost for pipe repairs and anticipated health costs associated with the population poisoning is $1.5 billion, or fifteen years of seconds.
Lead moves through bodies inter-generationally. Lead poisoning lowers IQs.
Which has consequences.
A million tears are in my heart.
You have been told not to play with matches a million times.
You are burning the planet.
You had a million choices.
A million raindrops grew that tree.
You can say you are sorry a million times but it won’t change things.
A million stars in a speck of sky. A million wishes on a star. A million footsteps in a lifetime.
There are thousands of alternatives.
More reasons why.
No excuses for disparities, the sore bare feet and the diamond skull art, the garbage pile combed for scrap and the jewelry box combed by lacquered nails, young girls bodies laid flat on coiled cots and opiate sex on a private jet.
No excuse for a child to go to school hungry, to go to a garbage bin for food, to go without water,
to go without,
62 people, more than a million ways wrong.
Not really a Biography
I have always been inclined to move forward, roll the stone, down, and often up, hills. I've tried to write through it all. Everything on this blog is written by me.