When I drop off K at school, I usually walk home. It's a good time for me to zone out with music, talk to myself, ponder stories or issues I'm having with a scene...or sometimes just dream. Today, my iPod decided that I needed to hear a lot of songs that remind me of Nicki. Gogol Bordello kept coming up on shuffle. And by the time Start Wearing Purple hit my ears, I was deep in thought.
I listened to the song over and over. Nicki introduced me to the song. She came bounding down from her apartment to ours with this song saying, "This is it! This is exactly what we're trying to make with the show." And it was. Saturday, after her funeral, this song *somehow* made its way onto the jukebox at the pub. We all started singing along with it.
Today I listened to it again and again, trying to twist the knife in the wound that is there. I started to replay the moment when Sean turned to me and said, "Nicki's passed away"...when a lightning bolt speared my heart. Why would I "torture" myself like this? you may ask. I'm not trying to torture myself. I'm trying to understand.
I've sobbed. I've cried. I've crumbled. I've seen and touched her body. I've seen empty dresses that won't be worn again...and I've been in her house. I've come to understand that this really isn't some bad dream. This is real. I know this is happening. I'm still reeling...this hurts. This is crazy. My friend is gone. In my mind, there is a piece of me screaming.
And yet, there's still a piece of me that just doesn't comprehend. I don't even understand what the words mean. "Nicki's passed away"? Bullshit. She's right there. See? I have this picture of her right here from just a week and a half ago. She was right here. I have this tikka that I wore at her wedding. See? She's not gone. "Nicki's passed away?" What does that mean? She's gone. She's dead. Shuffled loose the mortal coil. Ceased to be. An ex-Nicki. And yet, none of that makes sense. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? I know words. I use them. I'm a writer. But these just don't make sense. They're like some alien language or ancient hieroglyph that I just can't read. I don't understand.
To part of me, this isn't real. To part of me, this is hyper-real.
I keep listening to songs by Gogol Bordello or Gaelic Storm...watching videos of her or staring at her picture. I watched "Everything is Illuminated" the other day (a movie she introduced me to and we watched/quoted often). I keep telling stories about her, saying her name, repeating those foreign words over, keep poking the damn wound over and over again just because I think it might finally make it real. Maybe then I'll understand. It's like there's this quota of times I have to say it or think about her or whatever before I can get that clarity.
There is comfort. Our tribe, our family of choice, is holding on to one another. Support is amazing and beautiful. No one has to pretend or wear a brave face. We can be honest with each other and no one is alone. It's wonderful. People keep posting songs or lyrics or pictures that bring them some peace. My brother-in-law Zach (Nicki's husband), posted a cover of John Mayer's "Heart Of Life"... it helps. A lot.