Katie and I have been friends for a very long time. She is one of the few people that have been there through everything.
What I find interesting about her words; she never really goes into specifics, yet alludes to a darker reality.
As she mentions below, I assist her with a photo blog.
I fucking hate walking past that hospital. I mean, it’s an inconvenient hangup to have, because I live about a block and a half south of it. Luckily, it’s okay if i pass it by streetcar. But when I’m walking? I frequently cross the road and cross back at Dundas and at Nassau or College, just to avoid walking past it. Like I said, inconvenient hangup to have. And a silly one at that. I know Jay is still alive, obviously. I mean if he weren’t, I wouldn’t even be writing this. Hell, if he weren’t, I wouldn’t be doing a lot of things. We’ve gotten so much closer over the last however long, and talking to him has helped me through so much shit I’ve gone through, with anxiety and general life-crappiness. Plus, the whole Mind the Music T.O. thing. We used to be lots closer and kind of drifted, and I really love having him back in my life again, even though money/time prevents me from visiting as much as I wish I could.
All the visits that weren’t in that hospital have been fun. Like when I went to Hamilton, and we played the “when you’re in Hamilton” game and then laughed at Justin Timberlake for a couple hours. (No, really, we did.)
My mom drove me there once too, over Christmas-ish-time since we were visiting my family in Guelph. That was pretty cool- got to hang with Jay and listen to music instead of going grocery shopping! There was also that time we watched Men in Black 2, which was the same time I got lost in the snow and cold and wound up somehow walking about 8 times further than I had to to meet them, in the freezing weather, dragging my little wheelie bag through snowdrifts. Jay laughed at me for that, and I honestly can’t blame him.
Hey, look at that. I’m crossing the street to avoid getting too close to the hospital. Metaphorically, that is. I suppose I should make myself talk about that, since it’s how I started this. Like I said, I know it’s dumb. Jay left that place, I talk to him regularly. But I just can’t pass it comfortably. Every time I do, I get nauseous. And I mean, if it were just nausea, I could deal with it. But I constantly get vivid mental images of something else that I forgot that week, that week that we all thought would be the last week. The impossibly tiny brownish paper cups that we kept chugging water from just to have something to do amid the heavy silence of the waiting room. Everyone taking constant smoke breaks outside, trying not to cry. They’ve painted over one of those zones and made them non-smoking, since. The broken look in everyone’s eyes. Talking about happy times. Meeting Luka for the first time. Lydia’s sweater, I can’t remember if it was cream or light grey. Something pale. Rahib wearing his work jacket and having to leave eventually to go there, I think? The terrible spaghetti I stress-ate in the cafeteria downstairs. Dark laughter turning into anger at some stupid hospital slogan on the elevator doors. People breaking down into tears halfway through actions or sentences. Buying a bunch of boxes of kinder eggs for people from the shoppers downstairs because for some reason I thought it would help, even though even at the time I couldn’t figure out why. Being out for drinks at the beginning of these days, with a friend, getting a phone call from Lydia, and running outside, fearing the worst. Hearing the worst was coming and collapsing on a dirty Toronto sidewalk, phone in hand. People trying to find the bittersweet, telling funny stories from years ago.
Everyone hanging out again who used to years ago. Every word of what I said on his “death” bed. How small he looked, how it didn’t look like sleeping. Doubling over feeling as if I’d been punched in the stomach when I knew it was time to leave the room for what I thought was the last time. How broken I felt. How broken everyone felt. Every time I walk past the hospital, I get a flashback of that week. Sometimes it’s tiny things, like the colour of something, or how the bathrooms smelled like chemical peach.
Sometimes it’s silly things from after Jay woke up, like watching movies with him or how he made fun of me even before he could speak. (Every time I’d visited, he’d been asleep the whole time, and then finally he was awake. I jokingly exclaimed “Finally, I get to see your beautiful eyes!” and his response- such a Jay response- was to immediately shut his eyes. Jerk.)
I know it’s a dumb hangup to have, because clearly Jay is still in my life, and a big part of it. But I fucking hate that hospital.