I can’t sleep.

Why do memories glow the way real moments don’t?

I had dinner hours before bedtime. I turned off my PC at 8 PM. I put my phone away at 9 PM. I had great sex. I did deep breathing exercises. I listened to a hypnosis. I listened to rain. I listened to another hypnosis. At midnight, my leg had the third random sensation like a bug bit it and I gave up. I got up to go pee. I made a cup of chamomile. And I decided, fuck the rules. They haven’t served me at all so what’s the point of following them? I turned on my computer, grabbed chips and hummus, and sat down at the altar of my favorite screen.

It’s been a few weeks of this now. This past week my insomnia has reached its all-time worst. I’m Edward Norton, standing in front of the copy machine when Tyler’s spliced in for a single frame. The lack of any real circadian rhythm is part of my problem. The only thing that breaks up my day is when Nicholas comes home from work. My recent battle with my seasonal depression is still very much ongoing. And if I’m going to be perfectly transparent, I can’t stop thinking about Eric.

His birthday was yesterday. Would have been? What is the proper tense here? I wrote what I suppose one could consider my eulogy back when he passed last year (well, technically the post was a bit delayed because of me waffling on whether or not I even wanted to write anything but that’s not the point). Some of the feelings I had then still remain today. I feel as if I have no right to grieve. In the words of someone close to me, my feelings being this messy to this day are “irrational”. Maybe they are irrational. But it is what it is til it ain’t. I’m still fucking upset. I don’t care that – this is requiring me to be quite fucking vulnerable here so please, I beg of you, be kind – I don’t care that it’s been over a decade since we dated, since we had any in-person interaction. If you knew Eric, then you knew the kind of quiet yet poignant impact he had on everyone around him. He was my first true love, my first long term relationship, and the first person to make me think I might be interesting or special or worth loving. I already mentioned it in the last post I wrote about him but he literally saved my life (more than once realistically but most “tangibly”) when my meningitis made it so I couldn’t speak intelligibly. Then when he visited me in the hospital he stripped off all of his protective gear and kissed me, without an ounce of concern about catching a highly infectious and potentially deadly virus. That’s who he was, at his core. He loved intensely, without any reservation, and the fact that he’s dead is fucking wrong.

So, yeah. I’m still upset. I don’t care if I’m being irrational. I still think about how he promised me so, so long ago that we’d meet in an airport restaurant in our thirties and rekindle our friendship. I’m angry at him for robbing me of that, even though it’s not his fault. My depression is fucking hollow. I want to scream or cry my eyes out but instead I just stare at the ceiling at night and wonder if there was something I could have done to prevent him from dying. I think about how he should be thirty now. How I would have sent him a text calling him old and reminding him that when all this was over, we’d have to make good on the airport restaurant promise. How he probably would have told me about something incredibly thoughtful that Mary did for him because he was so very obviously madly in love with her and he had absolutely nothing but sweet things to say about her. How maybe, just maybe, if he would have lived, we could have been friends again. I’m grateful we were able to have closure on everything that happened between us, but I wish that we could have ended as more than a finally healed self-inflicted scar.

I have nothing new or interesting to say, if I’m honest. But I just… needed to scream into the void. I know that part of my insomnia is feeling this hole in my heart where he lived, no, lives and wanting something to fill it. But nothing ever will. It will forever be vacant, still scabbed for now but someday shiny and smooth once it stops ripping itself back open.

“You’ll be upset about Eric being gone for the rest of your life.”

All that possibility, gone. His music is a consolation. I bought what he had available on bandcamp, and crawled all over his Reward Music page. I posted some pictures on there last night when I couldn’t sleep, the ones I thought he’d cringe the least at. The videos in particular brought a smile to my face. It breaks up the depression and anger to try and appreciate that he was in my life, in our lives, and made such an impact in the amount of time he was here. I made a playlist, as I do, for everything. I even asked Andrea for his birth time so I could look at his natal chart. Pisces in the 8th House. If I had read his chart earlier, could I have said something? More irrational thoughts. As someone who constantly grasps for the why, I’m struggling to accept that sometimes bad things just happen. I want to end this on some kind of upbeat, “yeah, I can’t sleep and I’ve been forcing myself to eat and I feel like a crazy person for being this upset even though my therapist literally told me I check all the boxes for HSP and also I’m just like, kind of fucking crazy in general I guess BUT IT’S OKAY BECAUSE THESE FEELINGS ARE PROOF HE LIVED” or something but.

There’s no such thing as good grief.

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