You see, I am most familiar with death.
I was killed the moment you put a price on my life. You decided the value of me was less than the value of the profits you were likely to make, the costs I was likely to cost, the prestige you were likely to garner from publishing your study. Since then, I was a dead woman walking. You killed me back in the 70s and my life, my potential for living, was snuffed out.
Which is why, when my father died very recently, I haven’t found it the hardest thing in the world. Certainly nowhere near as hard as losing a parent should be. Because many years ago, long after those initial decisions were made on my behalf, I was forced to face death. To be introduced to it, suddenly, with no careful cushioning, no considered, counselled greeting of one’s ultimate deathly destiny. Just an oh yes, you know you have a virus that could kill you and oh no, we don’t know exactly when but don’t worry, it could be 20 years after you get it; but oh did we not mention the poison was in your first lot of blood products, when was that now? Twenty years ago wasn’t it?
Finding that out the way I did, it was not a gentle greeting of death: sat on opposite sides of the dance floor whilst you pluck up courage to lift your eyes and meet the black chasms of his occipital orbits. Nope. The way my mortality was upon me was like an assault down a black back alley. Finding myself on the floor, crushed beneath his unconscionable weight, my back ground into gravel, my own breath bounced back from the glistening bone of his skull as he rams his bony knee between mine and violates my actual soul.
That is death. I met it and it took me 22 years ago. Since that moment I’ve been coming to terms with that as my life drained away before my very glassy eyes. And come to terms with it I have. In fact I am so familiar with my abuser now that one might say I suffer from a little Stockholm Syndrome. I am intertwined with it. On board with the event that is in fact my own demise. I’ve seen it so any times in others and envisioned it so many times in myself that it is now part of me and there is no ignoring it, no denial, no walking away, no living without dying, as it were. This exceptionally intimate relationship has one benefit, which is to make a loss of another seemingly less destroying because I am on such good terms with the afterwards. Because I’m hovering on the border of here and there I have no fear of it. No worry about going there.
I faced that when I faced it, in that moonlit snicket, over half my ruined life ago. I’ve lived with its morbid reality ever since and that has given me the strength and insight to lie down with it and for it to no longer hurt me. I’ve seen beyond and yes, it is better than this.
Dad is safe there. And once this death sentence, or should I say death screed, gets me, I shall be too.
See you there dadda, I know your lovely face will light up once again when you see me, hello Rosi, you’ll cry and welcome me home.