human hibernation This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

June 12, 2012
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i wish i could say it rained the day we gave you back to the earth, that even the heavens were crying for you. it didn't though. it was 28 degrees and our black coats of grief were heavy in so many ways. it felt unfair, and i wasn't ready to let you go just yet, if i could have put myself in the wretched box i would have in a heartbeat. the cliches were in full force that day, and i didn't care for a minute. all i knew is the earth, or god, or whoever took you from me better be grateful to have you back.

there was something in my stomach that day, a knot, a twist, something that felt wrong and out of place from the second i opened my eyes that morning. my boots were heavier than usual, and i just couldn't shake this shadow that seemed to be following me. my mind sorted through the usual excuses; is the oven off? did i lock the cat in accidentally? oh s***, the garbage that must be it.

i wish now it was just the cat inside the house, the worst thing i would have had to deal with then was a pissed off rox, and maybe some cat s*** somewhere. that's easier than having to put someone in the ground forever.

you're not in the ground though, not really. we scattered you somewhere. i don't know where because i didn't go. i feel stupid for that now and really quite rude. i just didn't think i could handle seeing what once was you being throw, tossed into the wind and being carried away to somewhere far away from all of us. you always did do that, run away from those who cared most about you. you were selfish while alive, and i guess its not surprising you were like that in death too.

i guess that means we were standing around an empty box, crying our guts out and giving stupid speeches about our stupid feelings and how much you meant to us, and the f*ing gap you're going to leave. well, all except her. she showed me that afternoon there are two types of crying; there's full on ugly crying that leaves you red and puffy and snotty and choking on all the stuff that's happening at once, and there's delicate crying, dainty crying, the kind where you sniffle a little and you tear up like you're in a hollywood movie, but somehow not even your mascara smudges.
we were all ugly crying, and she wasn't. and i hated her for it.

i broke a lot of things that day. two plates, the first out of clumsiness the second out of anger. i broke my own heart looking through photos. i broke three promises all in one minute when i took a razor and cut deep into my thigh and just stared as the blood pooled at my feet. i patched it up and it bruised in a week, and the purple mirrored how i felt. it seemed to intensify in colour as i moved through each stage of the grieving process. pink to red, purple to blue, green to yellow and finally nothing again. it still stung though, and i wished the bruise had stuck around a little longer as proof of my aching body and fragile mind. i think i broke my mind too. it seemed to be looping over the same things a lot without much substance to any of them. just wisps and half thoughts the kind that kept me awake when i shouldn't have been.

i think i missed something after the funeral, because something clicked in everyone elses minds and they walked away from the hole in the ground as the men covered it up and found the path that led to being okay. i never found that path. i tripped over while my eyes were still puffy and missed the line that led to the guide to getting over losing a loved one. i missed recovery and healing and became stuck in the darkness of grieving. i missed all the good steps, and got stuck in the bad. i never moved on. never became 'okay' or 'at peace'. that was probably you continuing to be a selfish bastard and not let me go. more than likely it was me snapping and realising how f*ing sick i am of losing things i love and having to live with the gaps they leave.

i felt off at your funeral. they were burying a casket that was empty, and the music they were playing wasn't at all what you would have wanted. we may not have had much to do with each other in the last few months of your life, but i was still your best friend for 5 years, and we'd talked about this stuff. we'd joked about it and said stupid things about songs we wanted played, or how we wanted to buried with this or that, but at the end of the day you wanted to be buried with your guitar, and you wanted november rain played as we gave you back to ground. they didn't do either of these things, and i wanted to be sick as the overly dramatic melodies rung in my ears. if you had have been there you would be making snark comments about the shitty music, or how your suit was annoying, or enquiring as to where your precious was, and i would say i didn't know.

of course, there was the usual aftermath in the form of useless but well-meaning banter and apologies. but we were tiptoeing around all the real stuff, the things that we all shared in the pits of our stomachs. that we all knew how you died, and we all secretly hated you for it under a thousand layers of ohgodwhy. the truth was we all hated ourselves more than anything, because we just couldn't begin to understand how alone you must have felt to sink to that kind of rock bottom.

i almost understood it the day i broke all those things though. i almost understood it and it hurt more than i cared to admit to know you had that feeling in your head and heart and we didn't know. none of us even knew. but how could we, you vanished and hid and never talked to any of us ever. human hibernation i guess you could call it.

there wasn't anything natural about it though, and the way you just cut off all the ties made us all feel so small and pathetic. it always saddened me the way it took a funeral to bring us all together. it took having a close friend take his own life before we would emerge from our own separate boroughs, and join in a mutual sorrow that connects us in the worst way. it was in the aftermath of your earthquake that we stood around a actually thought about how we all ended up here, and each us of broke down the walls and the let the blame fall, and the grief stick like thick clay. i guess that's what separated me from you, i knew that clay was water soluble.





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