Haunted

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Yesterday was a hard day, the sort of day where I was haunted by mags at every turn. It seems like I can put together a string of days where I hardly think of her at all, and then something happens and I am laid out flat.

It started in the morning. Apropos of nothing, Bobo turned to me and said, “Sometimes it’s impossible to imagine mags isn’t in the next room, sitting quietly on her laptop, petting a cat.” That hit me like a punch to the gut.

Later in the day I was at a build party for a Burning Man art project, the sort of event mags and I went to together so many times. And of course I saw tons of people who knew mags and I could feel them looking at me and very specifically not asking.

As evening fell, Bobo and I helped with a glow-in-the-dark Easter egg hunt, a whimsical fun event that mags would have loved.

Then I came home and walked up to the attic alone and her presence was damn near palpable. I teared up for the first time in ages.

There’s such a jumble of emotions rattling around in my head. Mostly, I want nothing but good things for mags. I want her to find the sort of joy and peace that seemed so elusive for her the last few years with me. But there’s also a (small, petty) part of me that hopes she has days where she is utterly wracked with sorrow at what she had and threw away. Days and days. In some ways I miss her like mad. There are so many things I see or do that I wish she could be right at my side experiencing with me, sharing with me.  But then I recall vividly that things were never that simple with mags, and the path towards finding something that would make her light up was so often littered with a string of incidents that seemed to irritate and exhaust her.

I was talking with Taj about time she and I and mags spent on playa in 2013. I described it as “exploring open playa at night and looking at pretty things,” and Taj said, “What? That never happened. There was a night we biked around looking for places to fuck…” I’m sure that description was entirely valid from her vantage point. Taj is blessedly straight forward and direct about such things. And heaven knows I was open to the idea, hopeful and enthusiastic about it. But you never could tell in advance what mags might or might not be up for. The best you could do was to set the stage where something could happen, sort of slide up to it sideways and see if she would warm to it or not.

It took mags leaving for me to became so vividly aware of how much “walking on eggshells” I was doing, unconsciously, all the time. I said that to a friend, and she very quickly agreed. “It’s always been eggshells with mags. It’s so hard to get a read on where her head is really at. On the other hand, I felt that way about you for years, too. Until I learned to ask. But asking doesn’t work with her.”

So in the end, it’s not so much that I miss mags. I certainly don’t miss the uncertainty and the drama and the eggshells and the opacity and the torturous communications. There is so much in my life right now that absolutely would not be possible if mags was still here. I move and act with a freedom and a grace that was never possible when I was trying to accommodate her utterly unpredictable responses.

But I miss the best of her. On those (too rare) occasions when she could open up, when she got past overthinking and self-doubt, when she fully relaxed, she could be utterly incandescent. I miss who she could have been. I hate that she could not let herself be vulnerable enough to accept the love that was all around her. I resent the hell out of her for not being strong enough, not being healthy enough.

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