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I shelved my aunt the same day I was shelved by my lover. Admittedly, her dismissal was more traumatic of the two. Later, when I cried for myself, I cried for her, too. She’s not on my coffee table any more, at least, but she’s hovering. She’s not overbearing about it; my guilt is.

Meaning.

As far as my own shelving, I’m surprised that after the initial upset, I am feeling fine. Mind you, I still feel conflicted as it wasn’t an outright rejection but an honest sort of halfway rejection, which makes no sense but is true anyway. He’s not ready for the next step, you see. As consolation, he says he’s going to cook me dinner. He said I was beautiful when I told him I felt ugly. He said he was so sorry. He had the balls to stick around when I started crying. I’m not sure of the duration of my weeping spell, but I suppose it’s quality not quantity that matters.

Meaning.

I’ve been thinking of getting rid of my old books. It seems so blasphemous since I’m a writer. I feel as though I’m betraying some code that insists you have a responsibility to the book once you read its secrets. I feel as though if I can navigate the passage to letting go, I will have made some sort of real progress in my life.

Meaning I am tortured by meaning.

I didn’t put her away. I thought I would have. I thought I’d turned a corner.

For six weeks, an envelope with pictures of my dead aunt have been on my coffee table, waiting for me to do something with them. I have gotten teary-eyed just seeing the envelope. The last week has been especially difficult because I noticed that the pictures are halfway out of the envelope and the part I see is her exposed neck, her neck, the part that killed her. Or the cancer underneath. Whatever.

The pictures of her are when she was younger and healthier. Before she knew how she’d die or that the son (who was also in those pictures) would go before her.

I wrote her a letter before she died but didn’t get around to sending it. So I found it in my car, addressed and stamped, ready for her to read it. She’s not around to read it. She said she started a letter to me but couldn’t finish it because her hands were shaking so bad. I am sure the paper has been thrown away by now, but I’m haunted by what she may have said.

She told everyone I was her rock, but rocks don’t sob; they sit indifferent. And that I could never be.

Neither of us will go quietly.

That was obvious from the first.

Her moans and denials and fight are only restrained by the liquid morphine that courses through her veins.

She will not go quietly.

 

On the way to see her.

On the way to see her for the last time.

I did not go quietly.

The sounds of the engine and the radio could not be heard over my shrieks and sobs.

 

When the end comes

neither of us will go quietly

even if we don’t make a sound.

SOB with me

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