6 August 2009
Missing a Dead Man

I last saw him in December.

The deal we had brokered the year before had been simple. His ink on my flesh, and 24 hours with places traded and we would be good. I could have the contract, take it back to the realm of the living.

A year earlier, when I had thrown my ink already and claimed what it turned out could not be claimed then, He had first come into me. Gagged with duct tape, bound and unable to escape, I watched as He stepped into my skin. He fit, because he had fit before he had died. The fucker had been there before. I saw him in my body as I stood aside as he took off his/my boots and set them aside, perfectly neat. I saw his shape through my shape and recognized him as the black man who had been in my chorus of voices in the dark since I was young. He looked over his shoulder at me, and smiled. That smile I loved. Still love.

The smile that breaks hearts, and fucks you over. And you still love him.

I watched as he talked to him bound in the chair, heard parts of it muffled as I slipped sideways… and then they were gone.

I was gone.

It is gray in purgatory. No, not gray, more like someone has taken the saturation filter on photoshop and dialed the world down to -40. This was once red lips, this was once a brown jacket, these were once green eyes staring up out of the ground. This was a pair of lovers locked together, and now they are tangled masses unaware that they are stuck between. Unable to ascend, unable to hear, unable to reincarnate… to busy with what is going on, too torn, too full of pain to go in any direction.

I walked. Each time I tried to rest, it became to easy to rest. I had his debts on my shoulders, his burdens, his suffering. Mine had been left above, with my body, with myself. I was shade, was in his space. I hated with a venemous rage knowing that he was stuck here because he kept saying he wouldn’t die before he made good, it’s ok to do the sorts of magic he did, it would be ok. Fucker. Now- now I look back and I know where he still is and just feel this sadness, pity, resignation for him.

Hours passed to more hours, no clocks, no watches, no time, no space… just on and on and bodies and faces in sand and wandering shades and void. Hours became as if days, and so tired. Oh gods so tired. To just lay down, but each time I would start to sit, let alone lay down, I would start to get sucked down into the bodies/ground/flesh under my feet. Sucked down. Just give up. No point anyway. You’re here forever anyway, right? What do you think will happen? Why worry. Why try. Just give in. Just. Oh gods, to sleep, to just…

But no one was listening from there.

As suddenly as I was in, I was out, shade to color and seeing Him in me again. He half shrugged at me, then bowed his head, smirked, and walked through me and out. Back in flesh I snapped to, began working the duct tape off his face. There are very few ways to stop all the eyebrow hair from coming out. Duct tape blindfold, I was so angry.

But after three more of these, none of me having to completely replace him under as the three of us figured out ways to purposefully allow him to enter the space without having to make me or someone else living hold his space… we came to a deal.

24 hours of being out, trading spaces, over a year, and I would have what was mine. And he would have no rights to ride me again. He wanted 24 hours in a row… I thought better of that offer, thanks.

For the most part, the dead seem to want simple things. Send a letter. Eat chocolate almond ice cream. Watch a sunset. Go cruising. Feel the sun and wind.

We spent more time than the 24 hours together, because over the course of the year I couldn’t take it there any more. He got more time in exchange for a half-half situation… neither of us would leave, both of us would share my body. I just couldn’t do it any more.

In late December our last hour was made good on.

Today, staring at the ink, I miss him. I miss that asshole. I feel really sorry for him. I am grateful I have what is mine. The deal was sound. But he fit in me, and though that hole has been recrafted to not be empty any more, I remember. I remember the man as he lived. As he laughed and loved. As he held and joked. And I remember him dead, eating ice cream in the Maui sun.