All I’ve done since is build walls

Kim, every time I think I wish you were here, it feels like I should be sending you a postcard. It’s not that here is somewhere you or anyone else should be. It’s more that I wish you were with me. I wish I was with you. I wish too much. I miss you too much. And it hurts like hell.

So here I am talking to someone who can’t even hear me. I mean, I guess you can maybe hear me, however you hear things now, wherever you are. I told Jamie earlier that God and dead people could hear your thoughts if you wanted them to but I don’t even know if I believe myself. I feel like half the talking I do is in my head or into the fucking air. Every time I think about you, everything gets disjointed and turns into random statements that make no sense. Except they’d make sense to you cause you always just understood and I never had to explain. You could see inside my head the way no-one else ever could, or maybe you were the only person I allowed to look that closely. I don’t know anymore.

It isn’t the same without you. I’m not the same without you. I feel like part of me is missing, like something vital got torn off and taken away and now there’s just this aching rawness where it should be. Where you should be. I keep trying to care about things the way I used to, but I can’t. The part of me that was able to fully give a fuck about anything died when you did and all I’ve done since is build walls. Or watched the walls build themselves and done nothing to stop them or take them down.

I know I said before that I was angry with you. I said it a lot, just after. I sat on the beach on my own in the middle of the night and smoked menthol cigarettes cause they reminded me of you. I love how you always said you didn’t smoke but then you had a couple of drinks and ran to the shop in your slippers to get a pack of menthols, ‘just this once’. Every time it was just this once. I talked to you, those nights on the beach, out loud like a fucking crazy person. Sometimes I’d sit there for so long it would start to get light and real people who got up early would be walking their dogs and there I was, sitting on our rock, chain smoking and talking to myself. Some nights I was crying too, the kind of crying where you can’t breathe and it feels like you’re going to throw your lungs up, but I don’t think anyone else ever saw that.

I’m telling you this cause I want you to know I’m not angry with you now. Not all the time anyway. I’ve mostly been through that stage of grief. I did denial at the start, when I found you. You were so cold and I climbed into bed next to you and wrapped my stupid arms around you, just so I could pretend for a bit. You always said I was your hot water bottle and I told myself it was one of those nights when we’d walked home cause we couldn’t afford the bus and you were freezing so I cuddled up to you and warmed you up. Looking back, I don’t know how I didn’t cry then. I don’t know how I didn’t scream until the neighbours called the police. I just lay there, holding you, telling myself it was going to be alright, telling you it was going to be alright, even though you couldn’t hear me and I knew nothing was ever going to be alright again.

I called Hugh cause I didn’t know who else to call and he came over and dealt with everything cause that’s what he does. If it hadn’t been for him I’d probably still be lying in bed next to your body, waiting for you to wake up. There was an ambulance and the police came and I had to answer a lot of questions but everyone was nice to me. I don’t really remember much about that bit, not the details anyway. Your parents sorted out your funeral and I wasn’t allowed to go. I don’t know if you thought about that before you did it, but they told me it wouldn’t be right for me to be there with your real family. I would’ve just been pissed off anyway if I’d gone, listening to them talking about this person who wasn’t really you because they didn’t know you, not after they stopped talking to you because of us and probably not before then either, not really. But still, it might have been nice to say goodbye like that, traditionally, the way people are supposed to say goodbye.

That was the first time I went to the beach to talk to you, when I got angry on the day of your funeral. I put on my black dress cause I was in mourning and also cause you always liked that dress. I remember you had a massive go at me for stealing it but then when you saw how I looked in it, you forgave me. So I had on this fancy dress but with my big boots and my winter coat and your grey woolly hat. I sat on that rock in the rain, just raging at the sky and the waves and everything because you weren’t there with me. I wanted to do something ceremonious, bury something or throw something into the sea, but I didn’t have anything of yours apart from the hat and I didn’t want to take it off. I didn’t even get to keep the note you left cause your parents took it, even though you wrote it for me. They took all your things when they came round and I didn’t try to stop them because I couldn’t think of anything to say that would have made any difference. I was sitting on the step, crying into Hugh’s jacket, when they left with all the bags of your stuff. They didn’t even look at me. They just got back into their big car and off they went.

I did a bit of bargaining too, after all that. I started talking to God or Jesus or Mary or whoever you’re meant to talk to when you’re making promises you have no intention of keeping to try and get something in return that you know you’re never going to get. I kept saying I’d be a better person if you could come back, that I’d stop all the things I was doing and change my ways and all that, if I could just have one more day with you. Turns out when someone dies everyone ends up full of shit and forgets that some things aren’t reversible by force of will.

I don’t know that I ever noticed the depression stage myself but the rest of them all kept asking if I was OK and telling me I wasn’t talking much. Hugh tried to get me to come out on jobs for a while but then he stopped cause it wasn’t working and he knew I needed to be left alone. And Jamie used to bring me stuff he’d taken from his mum or his granny’s house. He’d show up at the door when he was meant to be at school and give me a packet of biscuits or a bottle of juice out of his bag. One time he brought me a chunk of hash which I suspect he took from Hugh cause I know his granny doesn’t smoke and I don’t think his mum does either. He was so sweet about it all though. He didn’t really say anything. He’d just hand me the stuff and sort of hug me awkwardly like he thought I might break and then he’d go off to wherever he went when he didn’t go to school. He’s almost a foot taller than me now, you know. He had a major growth spurt that year after you died and he still doesn’t know where to put himself.

I think I hit acceptance by the time the next spring arrived. Not proper acceptance cause I don’t know that I’ll ever properly accept you not being here anymore, but acceptance like I could go about my day without crying and I could sometimes eat food that took more preparation than opening a packet. I started going out on jobs with Hugh again and it was alright. Before, I used to feel a bit guilty about some of the stuff we did. It didn’t stop me doing it, but I felt kind of bad. After, I just felt like fuck it, the world’s a bastard of a place and you left me and I’m just going to do what I want. I got pretty good at it. I think I’d be considered a professional now, if this was a legitimate occupation. Hugh still handles the background things, getting the jobs and organising it all, but I’ve found I have some useful skills and a creative approach to developing our methods. Jamie’s on board too, now that he’s older and has few enough fucks to give about everything, and even though he’s shit-scared most of the time, he’s getting better.

I know you’d be shaking your head about all this, telling me to get myself together, reminding me that I could do anything I wanted and make a better life. Thing is, the better life was meant to be for us, not just me, and you took that away. So I guess fuck you very much for that. You broke my heart and this is what a broken hearted version of me is like. So fuck you, but I still love you cause I don’t know how not to. I read somewhere that the stages of grief don’t always follow a linear progression, so maybe this is just me going back to a little bit of anger now and then cause I don’t know how not to do that either.

It’s stupid, but I keep going to tell you things and then remembering I can’t, so there’s all this stored up information floating around in my head, all these pointless little snippets of life that I know you’d appreciate. I think maybe I should start writing them down. I can’t send them to you or anything but maybe writing them down would help me remember in case I get to see you again some day. I don’t know if I really believe in all that but I can’t handle the thought of you being gone forever so I’ll keep on talking shit to myself about how there’s something better after all this and you’ll be there waiting for me.

Or maybe I’ll just keep throwing all this chat into thin air or letting it rattle around my brain and pretending you can hear me. I hope that if you are somewhere else right now, it’s a really good place. I hope it was worth it. I love you.