old car parked near tree


arched passage in ancient palace with shabby walls

Partly it is the Fleet Week noise, partly it is Billy dying. Partly it is PTSD from being beaten and threatened and screamed at and things slammed around and onto my head for years. Partly it is the fact that I am in possession of an unquiet spirit, an uneasy relationship with the rest of the world, and a strained relationship with men who think they can tell me to shut up chill out, be quiet, don’t be angry…be NICE. Add to it a general sense of lack of safety, stability in my life, politics, a pandemic, a husband who won’t divorce me and who still pursues me, and a lot of pressure put upon me. Mix in a little exasperation, subsidy providers invading my privacy for hours every two weeks, an inability to go out and let off steam – see pandemic, and a nagging feeling that we are headed towards a world war complete with nukes and death and destruction, and there is a recipe for wrecked nerves.

I would call Billy. He was a drunk, a spaceman and a self aggrandizing bastard at times, but he got me and was, as he put it, “President of the Detroit Fanclub”. I could generally rely on him to sober up and boost my flagging self esteem and tell me that I was loved. It is intoxicating, isn’t it? Being told that you are loved. That you are great. Good enough. Interested and interesting. Someone to bounce stuff off. I have reams of writing that I need to show him, and get his guidance. He would set me straight, tell me what worked and what didn’t. He was a connoisseur of words. He was always there to nod or shake. To pat my hand and smile, or shake his head and give me a look of pained distaste. He gave me his time. He gave me his opinion. I am lost without him. I have been lost without him for the last 11 months, but at least now and again he would talk to me, and I would play him something and he could help me focus. Ok, not help me focus like he used to, but the ghost of his intellect was still there, and it was a comfort blanket. I felt less adrift.

I miss his useless prayers. I miss his watery blue eyes and the way he held his hands with a no tension in them, ready to pounce, instead all of that tension held in his frown and his legs. I miss his grin. I miss him sitting to my left, my deaf ear towards his, as we shouted at each other down the highway. I miss him. I am wasted. Wrecked. Dismantled by a grief that comes and goes in waves. A grief that I do not feel I am due, a grief that I do not feel entitled to. I am angry. I am furious. How dare he exit in this way! How dare he hurt me. Then I remember. That is what he did. He drank and then he let me down. He got high….and let me down. He let me down.

But when he didn’t let me down, he was busy saving my life. Busy being the only person that actually got me out of there. It is something I tried to repay. I tried to repay it with kindness, devotion, friendship, attention, affection…with love. I failed.

I failed at just about everything I’ve tried, from motherhood, to writing, to being a friend, from loving to being a wife. Heck, I probably failed at being a woman too.

I think I just crashed and burned.


  1. karlaveens

    What would you tell someone else that has been in your position? Most people (including myself) are very kind to others but not ourselves. I am not sure how you’ve failed at writing? Your writing is so creative and descriptive and magical. I am sorry you are going through a horrible time….

  2. Time Traveler of Life

    No fucking way! You have a writing career in you, you just have to take a lot more abuse, but it is from people that love you and want your to succeed. As my daughter says to me, “Suck it up, buttercup!” Get back to writing, I want to have that signed addition! Sending Love to you and Chris!

  3. Ruth

    You are the best and most extraordinary sister, a loyal friend-for-life, a loving mother, a talented writer, a compassionate human-being, and you were Billy’s best friend. The person who brought out the best in him and helped him feel like an ok human being. No-one else did that, no-one else could do that. But I understand the grief. The loss of someone, however flawed, who loved you, who ‘got’ you, who you could just be yourself with… that’s overwhelming and unfathomable. Sending love sister. xxx

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