Almost two months, and counting. If I could number the actual days, I would, but I can't because the pain has been too sharp to bury. The mind has a merciful anaesthesia of its own - a blessed coping system. The loss invariably slips through, floats to the surface though.
There's a big Martin-shaped hole in the fabric of my days, something my heart refuses to acknowledge even if my head technically has. I still look at my chat list, expecting to see you pop up on it, all ready to say MEW MEW MEW at you one more time, and then I remember that I can't. Not any more. Not in this lifetime anyway. I still catch myself thinking, oh I HAVE to share that with Martin, and I have to remind myself that I can't do that either.
How do you even begin to recover a loss like this? So much of the warp and weft of my life over the last few years has been inextricably bound up with the solid bulwark of your presence there. A solid confidence, knowing that you'd be there when I finally got online to bitch and complain, or maybe just squee guiltily like a 16 year old over something that had caught my rare fancy. There was never any shame in it, never any judgement, not in your eyes. Not even when you were caught in the crossfire of my considerable fury, the inevitable bad choices, the grief and the selfish bitchiness that I always apologised for once I'd given myself a good shake.
It was a fragile solidity perhaps - a tenuous one, but to me you were indestructible despite realities. You weren't allowed to go before I did, I told you, and threatened you with eternal wrath and beatings, and you just laughed and said, Yes, you would wouldn't you. How were we to know that we'd have to face this sooner than we thought? How did anyone know.
You made it ok to be a redhead, even if I was just a redhead in character, not hair colour - although I did change the colour more than a few times too. You made my days more vivid, my conversations more surreal, my entire life more interesting, because I had your chats to look forward to in the late nights and early mornings.
Almost all our conversations took place at the most ungodly hours, thanks to time zones. Not that it mattered - I've never really gotten over being on US time anyway, since I'm up all hours of the morning and night. So much to say, and yet nothing, because I knew you understood all that I couldn't put into words (and the ones I put into words very badly). You accepted me, considerable imperfections and all. There was safety in those wildly far-flung conversations we had; freedom to be myself, and not be belittled or criticised for it.
It is so hard to write even these short paragraphs because I don't know what to say. My heart is too weighted, too full, too everything, to be explained in the inadequacies of language and words. All I know is that I miss you, I miss you, I miss you, so much that I can't accept you're not here to hear me say it any more, to go MEW and WUMP, and have it reciprocated in kind.
Rest in peace, Martin - 'friend' doesn't even begin to cover what you were and are to me. I love you, and I will always miss you, and I hope that if you're looking down at this now, you'll read everything between the lines that I can't say because I don't know how. If nothing else, I hope that I made some part of your life happier, maybe a little better, and that our friendship was as special to you as it was to me.
(For Martin Kemmish)
Not so long ago when you were ill
Hospital-bound and cranky
I told you this: that you were not allowed
To predecease me
That I would drag you back
Just so I could yell at you
And throttle you properly myself
For daring to leave us before your time.
Forgive me my friend
For this broken promise:
That this limited, mortal body
Cannot transcend time and space
Impotent fists beating, futile
At the barrier between us
Thin as gauze, impenetrable as sorrow
Where you stand –
So near, yet so far
Your outstretched hand
Passing through my clenched one
Like a sigh in a storm.