The whole city of Vancouver has been incredibly heavy for several weeks now, heavy with grey humidity that seemed it would never go away until this weekend when the sun came out of hiding, heavy like the bags of cans that more and more residents carry – two huge garbage bags on each shoulder that will amount to enough change for a few warm meals, cold drinks, and hot showers, heavy like the shopping bags that read “Louis Vuitton”, “BCBG MaxAzaria”, “LaCoste”, and “Chanel” that women in stilettos carry home on the train – their hair ironed perfectly straight and their noses held high, heavy like the conversations that my Father insists on having day after day – not an hour passes without him complaining about something that is part of who I am – the “damage” I’ve done to my hair by painting it red or my stretched ears or my sadness that the little sister I helped raise seems to hate me now that I’m no longer a Clozapine-zombie or the simple fact that no one can “save money” while on disability assistance or my general dislike for talking about money 30 times a day because talking about it will not change the fact that we live in a society based on it or my choice to leave a bowl soaking in the kitchen overnight because I’m exhaused rather than washing and putting it away immediately or the fact that I cannot promise to quit smoking before he leaves in two weeks – heavy like the tears and sweat that cover me as I try to fall asleep after another day of constantly being told that I’m just not quite good enough while going through half-opiate withdrawal because despite my methadone dosage already being raised two times it’s not good enough either.
Over the past few days, there is something particularly heavy that I am picking up on, a frequency that I am tuning into – this time it is a feeling instead of a sound; it’s as if I’ve found a soft spot among all of the hardened layers of pain that define my relationship with my dad and what remains of my family, its tiny but excruciating entirety – like a little blister that will not go away because it is on your foot, and you cannot help but walk – that has grown closer to me in proximity, as he connects with them almost every evening across the sky through wires or satellites. No matter how much he tries to convince me otherwise, I know they are talking about me, I can feel their sympathy that he has to be with me, and when he leaves there will be open arms. When I left there was secrecy, he avoided their reaction to my reappearance by not telling them until the day before I arrived. The frequent phone calls have also laid a finger on my difference – even when I was only fourteen and lived in Japan for four months he only called twice. Even then his voice was strained, not filled with the excitement that also fills his lips, turning them into a smile for the first time of the day, as he listens to my sister talking about some nonsense she saw on MTV. The excitement would be disgust if the same words came out of me. So I’ve located this weak spot but I cannot quite dig through even though I’m staring at it, dig through past understanding and towards acceptance – I do not have the right tools to go any farther, so the heaviness hangs around me, grows thick, leaves me gasping for air, makes me trip over my own feet when I try to walk. Then he walks out the door and he takes the heaviness with him and for a moment I am free.
And all I want to do is sleep, sleep forever, on the first blue-sky-day in 30.
There’s one kind of heaviness – it’s the sadness on his face. Or, rather, my inability to fix it. I cannot exhume the man that I called “daddy” when I was a child anymore than I can make my mom come back to life. I cannot change the past and within it somewhere a moment when I became fuck-up, making room for everyone else to be better than me. Every time I took a wrong turn it was carved in stone, and the stones have become awfully heavy. And I could through all of those stones into the Ocean, cackling as they began to disappear, because the stones are pieces of history, their shapes cannot be changed, stones that built a path, the path that led me here… And I like here. So maybe I don’t even need to get rid of them, because I always made it back, to the path of me, the path towards myself, to who one day I’d be.
Still, who I am is heavy, and cannot provide reprieve. And for some unreasonable reason, that is what I need.