Sunday, April 10, 2011

If Parting Could Be Painless

Didn't realize on Thursday, saying good night to someone who'd called on the phone that I was saying goodbye. Had an email from a mutual acquaintance yesterday afternoon and am just starting to grasp the sensation I'm experiencing is the hole in my heart. I've become fond of saying as an excuse masquerading as a reason (since I'm not especially demonstrative (enough for some folks) when displaying feelings) that "I'd miss you more if I knew you better." This sudden departure is a case in point.

I've worked for maybe a half dozen years with J., speaking on the phone perhaps twice a week and sometimes more often, not always about whatever project in which we were engaged but as a sort of safe harbor, someone I could bounce an idea off of and not be thought criminally crazy or worse. I hope I served that same purpose for him as well. All we were missing were the fishbowls. It's Lent, he'd have enjoyed that line.

I was told his death was from natural causes. As opposed to unnatural, I guess. This is why I'm accused of being snarky when all I'm looking for is clarity. I hate when we use language to mask meaning. Something that should be transparent instead is rendered translucent which is almost, but not quite, the same thing and it's the difference and the distinction between the promise and the performance that so often causes me to get lost and left behind.

It feels like the same world this morning that it was yesterday. It isn't, of course, and not only because I know of at least one less person who is in it. That knowledge doesn't change the shade of the sky or the shape of the clouds. It will not speed up or slow down the coming of Spring-a season J. didn't especially like (a winter guy for reasons I never asked) and maybe that absence of 'this is what I know to be true' is really the hardest part.

The realization that while I'd like to think I knew this person, or any of the other people with whom I interact on a daily basis, in the end I have to concede that I didn't and now never shall. I'm not alone-each of us is surrounded by people just like ourselves. We have all the time in the world to get to know one another until all our days rush together in a fullness we cannot believe or otherwise achieve. We are born and die alone and everything in between is lived near, but rarely with one another.
-bill kenny

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