Of Numbers, Death, and Nonsense

Of Numbers, Death, and Nonsense

        Despite (or because of?) my very clear interest in languages and the more liberal arts, my brain constantly thinks in terms of numbers. I’m obsessed with assessing my own productivity. Today is December 19, which means that 62% of the month has passed, and considering I have a deadline in mid-January, I have to increase the amount of time I work by 50 to 65% for the rest of the month in order to make it in time, considering other commitments and my recent fatigue which increases my average sleep by one hour per night, and the weather which increases the dog-walking time and preparation by 33% every day, and adding in some extra time for eventual unpredictable variables.

        And then I realize, today my dad would have turned 50. And in mid-January, I’m turning 28. The same gap between today and my deadline. Then all these numbers lose their purpose in face of my emotions. At the same time, these numbers have always ruled my life. It’s like a constant fight between the bigger picture and the precise details, the macro versus the micro, in which the micro wins out of sheer quantity, becoming the macro. And then, the unquantifiable, innumerable elements, the beyond numbers, get shoved under the rug until I start tripping on the bumps. Like today.

        Man, my dad would have turned 50. It’s a number beyond numbers. It doesn’t make sense, it creates sense. It’s a quantity which empties yet defines my life. It’s an addition of years of absence, it’s a subtraction of what should have been in favor of what was, it’s an unknown variable that became known too early in the equation and displaying ERROR on my calculator. It does not make sense.

        Or can sense ever be made? In French, we say to have sense, or to be sensical (which isn’t even an official word in English). So, is sense contained, had, rather than made? Do things, events possess sense? No. Neither language is correct.

        Sense is the unknown variable of the equation. We are the ones who try to create or see sense in that which is inherently void of sense. We impose sense onto variables through an emotional equation whose result is entirely subjective. We add up or subtract or multiply or divide numbers in our lives that we put together ourselves to try and give sense to them as a result. I suppose it’s easier to accept nonsense when we make it make sense, or make it have sense.

Happy 50th birthday to my big nonsense, my unknown variable.

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I Forgot

I Forgot

July 25, 2016. I am 26 years old. It’s 5:05 am. I just finished grading a stack of 64 midterm exams. A thunderstorm is roaring outside. My 7-month-old puppy is whining. My poor baby. 7 years ago, at 5:05 am, my dad had already choked to death. An accidental fire, I read in the newspapers. I was 19. He was 42. He would be 48 today (his birthday is in December, mine is in January). I was 5 weeks away from starting university. I was at my aunt’s, 33 du Barrage street. Too many numbers, my head hurts. Their cat was restless. No. It was only the following day that I learned about it. But I already knew. I’ve never told anyone, but I knew before knowing. People waited a full day and a half before telling me. 1 day and 1/2. His one son. But I knew, so I looked it up myself. I found this article in the newspapers: http://www.lapresse.ca/la-voix-de-lest/actualites/200907/27/01-887549-la-victime-na-pu-etre-reanimee.php. I learned about my dad’s death in the newspapers. Online, at night, at my aunt’s. It was that night that the kitty was restless. Yes, I remember now. I didn’t like that cat. I didn’t like the yellow pillow in the guest room either. I called my mom 6 or 7 times before she answered. The funerals were 1 or 2 days after. Why can’t I remember? I’m such a dumbass. I went shopping for funeral clothes at some point. I guess it was 2 days after. But it seemed quicker than that. I also got a haircut at some point but I think that was even before I knew. I mean, I already knew, but before I knew knew. Wait no. I spent the day right after with Karine. I pretended everything was ok. We even went out. We made a silly lip-sync video. So I was wrong, the funerals were 2 days after. I don’t remember how I got there. I don’t remember if it was my mom who picked me up or my aunt who drove me. They both attended. My brother was there too (half-brother, his dad is still alive, but of course he knew my dad well). My mom had separated from my dad a long time before. I have no memories of them together. But my memories are fading it seems, so what do I know. I was on autopilot for two weeks. My brain had trouble registering. I was numb. I didn’t cry much. I understood but didn’t feel. My mom cried, my aunt cried, everyone cried. Did I cry? I don’t remember. I was watching the movie of my dad’s funerals. I could only think of the fire. I was miles away, but I could see it so clearly in my mind. It was right there. I only had to go in and save my dad, but I didn’t. This scene was on endless replay for 2 weeks. That’s all I remember. All I remember is something that didn’t happen. Me not saving my dad, over and over again. Him dying endlessly. Me standing there watching his death. I remember plants. They were given to me afterwards. I still have them. I remember my mom’s tears on my shoulder. My aunt sniffling behind me. People looking at me. The fire. A lot of people looking at me. Some that I’ve never met, wishing me well. I don’t know you, wish well to your father who’s 82 and still alive, not to a stranger. I remember chairs. The fire. I remember not going to the washroom. I remember nothing of the following days. I also remember they didn’t let me be alone with my dad’s body. Those were the only words I said all week, “can I have 2 minutes alone with him?,” but they were denied. It’s the only thing I really wanted, but they refused. If only they let me, it would’ve been much easier. It would’ve been easier to cry. How could I react with so many people around me waiting for me to react. Dying to see my reaction. I remember some kind of priest saying stuff. My father didn’t believe in religion. Dumbasses, why have a priest at his funerals. I think the last time I saw my dad (not his corpse) was at his sister’s house. We drove there. It was kind of boring. I had a cheeseburger. He watched me sleep at some point. Or maybe that was the time before. I was half-aware, but I know he watched me sleep. I never watched him sleep. The closest I got to watching him sleep was in his coffin. He looked sleepy. He looked happy, happier than me. I wanted to join him. There was room for two. I’m not very big. I’m struggling to remember. We went on walks together and found crabs. He made me love crabs. He taught me how to grab them. But I don’t remember today. I forgot so many things. It hurts how much I’ve forgotten. The beautiful memories all gone. Only the feeling of loss that I will always remember. His death. Taking the whole space of my memories of him.All that’s left is his death.

mourning as in morning

mourning as in morning

the morning after

I take a pill

but you’re not gone

from my body

from my mind

 

deuil as in deux

two, the two of us

split, rift

in two different times and spaces

me in my double bed

you in your single coffin

I have space for you

you have none for me

 

grief as in gris

gray, gray matter

your death inscribed in me

in my brain

my identity

your death is me

I am your death

we are one again

inside my memory