“When Love appeared to me so suddenly / That I still shudder at the memory.”

I am awake. It is nine a.m. I have been awake since two a.m., when I woke crying, my insides twisting, the broken edges of all the pieces of my sharply broken heart grinding together in grief, and slipped from bed to throw up in the bathroom for half an hour from pain.

I’m practiced at this now. I knew to bring my phone and a sweater, to expect the need for distraction, to know my teeth will chatter from the stress of my body’s reaction, all energy diverted to this misguided attempt to vomit my misery away as if my trauma were something I ate.

(I read the news as I sit on the floor. I read science fiction. I cannot, under any circumstances, read about code or coding or how to program. I cannot read about theatre or Frank Zappa or King Crimson or any other art prog rock the same way I cannot listen to any ravey dance music or Ratatat. Though central to my life, these have become tied to the worst of it, they have become impossible topics, impossible needs. My indoctrination was too complete. My love tied me to them as much as my ruined love now keeps me away.)

Sometimes, when I am reading in the middle of the night, freezing as I lean against porcelain, I think about writing. How much it used to run through my blood, how much I’ve given up, how much has been taken away.

This is the price of falling in love; poison, betrayal, loss, and pain and more pain. I am the little mermaid before she was sanitized, every step on land the same as walking on a thousand blades.

I am in San Francisco for an ex-partner’s wedding. Our break-up was many years ago, but it is still a stressful thing. I can’t help but remember when he proposed to me, then later declared that it was a romantic lie and I never should have taken him seriously. It was our first fight and the day after was the first day he began to abandon me. I spent the next six months fighting for us, stubborn in love, wanting his desire and happiness with every fibre of my being, but it didn’t matter, he had decided and forever after just drifted away. It was this, completely: “I chose her less and less. Everyday, for five years, I chose her a little less. I stayed with her. I just stopped choosing her. We both suffered.”

Yet here I am, a quarter away across the world to witness him finally follow through, but with someone else, even as I still wear his ring and his hands are banded with mine. Why? Because he asked me and I still love him and so want him to be happy, no matter how he treated me. (Isn’t that the very definition?) I am a trembling thing, helpless against it.

Micheal, the best and brightest, there is no justice that you are gone and that I cannot call you in the midst of this and take comfort in your wry voice from Calgary or Berlin or Tel Aviv.

How odd and foolish love is. How stupid my heart. How much I wish I could cut them both out of me these sleepless nights when there is nothing in my world larger than pain.

My most recent ex was going to be my date to this, my partner, my shield and armor. It was going to be fine and sweet and an adventure, a trip together with friends along the way and dancing at the wedding and smiles as clear as diamonds. My first real date to a wedding. My first a lot of things shaped like joy.

I wonder if he remembered, if that’s why he reached out with a message the very same minute I was putting a key in the ignition to drive south this week. A late night text, the first since New Year’s Day, when he changed his relationship status to boyfriend-of-the-girl he fucked on our one year anniversary and declared I was mentally ill for begging for his compassion. It might have been coincidence, but I miss you, he said, I’m sorry I hurt you.

My reply said, I miss you too, I’m sorry you did too, I can’t talk now, I’m driving to the wedding, and then that’s what I did. I turned on the engine and drove for five hours. Then I traded places with my friend Rafael, napped briefly in the passenger seat, and then did it again. It was a relief. I had something to do and finally, finally, maybe the chance to resolve some of the agony he chose as his legacy, the heavy bread of my daily meal of grief and pain. I drove and drove and the scenery changed and I barely cried.

“Her tender feet felt as if cut with sharp knives, but she cared not for it; a sharper pang had pierced through her heart.”

He changed his story the next day, of course, sober probably in the light of day. I only had one day with hope of relief before he read my journal and back-pedaled, practically tripping over himself in his haste to get away from the damage he helped create.

I suppose I understand. I imagine it is easier to leave me like this in perpetuity than face his own hypocrisy. To own his guilt would be to own a monstrous thing; that by taking the fearful lessons he learned through abuse and inflicting them on me, he has become harmful himself. Such a realization does not come cheap – it spits in the face of his best unshakable conviction, that he may be flawed, but he is Innocent. A Good Person more than anything else, the very kindest of all.

Maybe underneath it all, he knows. Why else send the first message? Yet no matter how badly he might feel in moments of late night, guilty whiskey weakness, I know I’m not worth it to him, just as I was not worth his respect when we were together. To treat me as an equal or a real person was too expensive for his conscience even when he was my partner and declared he loved me, so, honestly, I was a dimwitted idiot optimist for hoping otherwise. To think he might help me now, reach out and offer care after he has already discarded me, is a pipe dream.

Ignoring my daily wreckage is obviously easier. He doesn’t have to live with it that way. I bear the cost, not him. He broke me and replaced me. See no evil, right? I’m a write off, just like his other crashed cars. The worst that could happen is that he might one day see his own soul, but who believes in such a thing in 2015? That’s what drugs and alcohol are for.

If only I had some way to forget myself, too. Erase and negate my own vulnerable underbelly with chemical castration or hedgehog prickles and hide the fingerprints that trust left unfairly tattood on my skin. You would be disappointed with me, Michael, for wanting this, but nowhere is safe now that you’re gone.

Even though I see his reasons, I cannot agree with them. Taking responsibility is a difficult task, but he does not earn my sympathies. To leave another in pain is beyond my horizon, beyond that which I am capable. It is incompatible with my wiring. Incomprehensible. Cruel. Instead I am stuck – no matter how much I hate myself for it or my daily distress – it is like with the other. Why am I here? I love him.

It causes such agony, but it is the truth. Even as every day I struggle to endure. Even as I barely feel I can stay alive. Even as I sit curled on a tired bathroom floor, watching another day dawn again as my body misfires, as it has for months, my flesh unable to understand that there is no cure for this disease.

letting the cat out of the bag for a trip around the block

Shane Koyczan
Promotional photo for Shane Koyczan.
  • ChatRoulette Love Song: speed dating done right.

    Arron took me on a driving lesson the other day, all the way from Home Depot to Metrotown, the farthest I’ve ever gone in a car. I suspect he found it vaguely terrifying, but given my lack of experience, I think I did rather well. No one died, nothing got wrecked, and I finally found myself okay with driving at more than 30 km/hour. I had been vaguely concerned that driving his truck would be somehow scarier than the little car I had been learning in with Young Drivers of Canada, (bigger equals more dangerous), but instead I discovered that though I disliked the hugeness of the thing, (the amount of space it takes up is slightly ridiculous), my years of living in a truck have apparently made me significantly more comfortable sitting higher up. It feels more natural being able to look down at other vehicles, rather than up at them. I blame my mother and her addiction to vans. Also, not dealing with a clutch meant that I stopped mixing up the pedals, so that was a victory, too. The best one, probably. Notes: remembering to check blind spots, figuring out how much space is actually required to change lanes. (Hint: significantly less than I think).

  • Little Wheel: a sweet, beautiful art game involving robots.

    I had a try-out day of work with Agentic yesterday, the web development company I’ve been interviewing with that I rather like. It was a very relaxed time, some easy work in a nice environment, surrounded by quiet, friendly people, not stressful at all. I was mostly left to myself, just me and a desk and a small pile of simple tasks. It was only after, during my gentle walk home, that I started feeling worried I wouldn’t get the job, as if my body had saved up all my concerns for later, tucked away in a bottom drawer of my heart until it was deemed safe to let them out. Silly, in a way, as it is out of my hands now. Everything left to do is on their side – talking to my references, deciding which candidate to hire, then calling us with the decision. (I was told they’ll let me know no later than Monday.) In the meantime, all I can do is wait and cross my fingers that I am what they need. It would be great to work in a positive environment again. I’m tired of spending time in offices where you can tell that everyone there wishes they weren’t.

  • Mills & Boon: self-portraits that mimic the covers of romance novels.

    My others news: Lung and I are finally starting a photography business together, Fox-Rain Wedding Photos. We’ve been talking about it for years, but the timing was never quite right. This time, however, I’ve already kludged together a solid rough draft of our website that I plan to take live in the next few days, before he leaves for California next week, and hope to get some sort of quick logo nailed down by the end of today, the better to toss on business cards asap. Neither one of us is particularly flush at the moment, so start-up money is tight, but I’ve done my research and I’m not only certain we can do this on the cheap, I’m absolutely confident we’ll succeed. If we can get everything together quick enough, things could even be up and running by the end of the month. Expect us at a tacky wedding fair near you, soon! We’ll be the people who don’t suck.

  • this week in brief

    Things I have not been mentioning here: I attended Matthew David Cale and Sarah Rose Edward-Noelle’s wedding on Monday, and, coincidentally, am planning to attend Matthew and Sara Rose’s newlywed picnic next Sunday. I hope for all the best to both couples and idly wonder if I should introduce them. Jim asked Mishka, finally, if she would marry him. She said yes. I am to be their Maid of Honour next summer and in charge of photography. I tapped Lung to do the honours while I’m standing up front, trying not to drop her ring. He and Tony and I went to see Twilight last Saturday, which was even more hilarious than the last movie. I accidentally left my hat there, but recovered it Tuesday. My mother is leaving on Friday to NYC for three weeks, where she’ll meet Van Sise in person before I do, as Lung already did. I am going to be recording her show on Thursday with Paul and T. Crane before she goes. She will be out of a job when she returns, as well as down one local child, as one of my brothers just moved to Montreal to learn Asian languages in french at the Uni of Montreal. A different family member was recently arrested and spent a night in jail, but we’re hoping it will turn out okay. The lawyer seems positive that charges will be dropped. At home, David has been given a raise and I am still looking for work, though not finding any. EI is still threatening to dock my social assistance, which has already dropped by a hundred dollars, no longer covering my rent. In hopes of softening that blow, I have been updating my Etsy shop, as I cannot rely on photography until my wrists have recovered. Also, to complicate matters, I am running out of space to put digital photos, a situation that will only grow more dire the longer I do not have access to my work computer, which continues to blackscreen during boot. On a more positive note, Van Sise sent me a vintage medium format pinhole camera so I will be able to take pictures at Burning Man. (I’m unwilling to risk my camera with playa dust). I have not used one since highschool, when I made a shoddy one from a shoebox, so it should prove to be a very interesting experiment.

    No wonder I’ve been perpetually wiped out.

    Good news!!

    In the past two weeks, I’ve gone to the physiotherapist twice. First for my shoulder, second for my ankle. The first appointment was nothing special. He gave me some isometric exercises to practice at home, to strengthen my muscles and ligaments without moving them around, and hooked me up to a TENS machine that left bruised hickey octopus sucker marks all over my skin. The second appointment, though, which focused on my ankle, was a little bit life changing. Turns out, and why none of the doctors ever figured this out, I don’t know, my ankle was dislocated! The physiotherapist did a few motion tests, prodded conclusively with his fingers, then, incredibly, just pressed the bones back into place. It was a very peculiar feeling, but the relief was immediate. There’s still pain, but it’s a dull ache instead of a chronic, constant sharp pressure, and the brain fuzziness that accompanied it is almost entirely gone.

    It seems that when I went rollerblading in broken boots all those years ago, the compression of the ill fit slowly shoved my bones out of place, wrecking some of the connective tissue and setting a precedent in the flesh for it to slip out in future, much like my shoulder, which is why my injury would flare up randomly when I ran or even stepped off a curb the wrong way.

    To finally have an ultimate solution, to be able to stand and walk and know what was wrong, has been revolutionary. I have been given exercises to keep it in place – standing on one foot on a balance board, twenty minutes on a stationary bike, pushing with the other foot to give it a ride, and fifty pound leg presses, as gently as possible – and the fellow that sold us my new ankle brace recommended a very good series of stretches, where you trace out the alphabet in the air with your toes. My problems now are only healing and strength. Healing, to get over the tiny soft tissue tears from misplaced bones, and strength, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    they both have the same name

    Ahmet Zappa is developing Fraggle Rock into a full-length feature film.

    It is maddening to be able to write clearly and concisely about the frustrations attached to writing a business plan without having the instant skill to apply the same to the business plan itself. The language is entirely different, if not, possibly, the entire vocabulary. It’s like how I don’t know Dutch, though the alphabet is the same.

    Mostly thanks to Warren, Foxtongue.com hits are already nearing 2000 and we’ve only been up for a little over 24 hours. (I expect it to hit 2000 by the time I get up in the morning for work). Thanks to the popularity of the website, we seem to have added a lawyer to the mix of volunteers, a few film-makers, and a neuro-scientist. I’m not sure what we’re going to do with the last one, but I’m more than certain I want to know her anyway. Over the course of yesterday and today, I broke both my mail-boxes with the sheer volume of letters going in and out. I would be amazed, except that I’m more annoyed with myself for not remembering that I kill them every time I’m working on something serious. A mailing list will be set up next, hopefully available as of tomorrow. A nice, handy, not-going-to-count-against-my-limit mailing list.

    Also, I need some press releases. Also, still an artist sketch rendition of what the place will look like once we shiny it up and info and archival materials on the New York Theatre.

    There’s an english language trailer for “Perfume” available.