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la lenteur de la mort.

Emotional talk with T. yesterday, mostly about Anna’s suicide. He kept encouraging me to write about it, which I have stumbled around with doing but keep stopping because it feels so fraught– like following this Ariadne’s thread through a labyrinth of trauma and pain that ends up in a center of senselessness no one should ever wish to visit, and where the maze itself is all made up of these barely glued pieces of family and relationships and the guttered underbelly of the psyche. To use suicide to anchor anything seems misguided somehow, and yet there it remains, stubborn in its negation.

Annapurna died the week of Thanksgiving, 2019. That week was the last time I ever drank, days after her last stuttering heartbeats, when we were all supposed to be celebrating a family holiday and all I wanted was to forget. I woke up the next morning hungover and miserable, with the ringing awareness that in trying to escape I’d only been following the same dark path that had ended up swallowing her; with the unsettling awareness that to feed one demon is to feed them all.

Anna told me one night when she was fifteen– back when we shared a room, and, more often than not, a bed– that one day she intended to kill herself. Her tone then was less one of heavy depression than it was fierce defiance and vicious black humor, a teenage desire for some sort of violent control over her personal fate. And that is what I remember most: that there was always so much fight in her, exploding through music and poetry and drama and art, fueling her haphazard path through New York and Estonia and London and South Africa, the laughingly cruel way in which she’d leave her latest adoring boyfriend without so much as a note, disappearing into the next adventure– which were typically filled with house fires and broken noses; car wrecks and concerts; crash pads and DIY tattoos.

I told T. that I think sometimes about retracing her journey, from Vancouver to London to Colorado, Providence to Portland to New York, Estonia to Kansas to Greece, and god knows where else in between, to pick up the threads of her life, to collect whatever variations on her memory remains– but what value is there in chasing such a ghost? I told T. I dream sometimes of smearing myself in her ashes and dancing like a banshee in one of her hats and tattered dresses– but what value is there in courting such possession? And so there is nothing to do but sit with it, the way that sisters do, remembering the way we used to whisper in bed together, braiding each other’s hair.

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