If I get drunk enough, I’ll tell you about my dead ex.
He was the kind of guy that my parents adored, because they like to believe that no premarital sex occurs, ever. He was intelligent, sadistic and could do a wicked impersonation of Julia Gillard getting a hair cut; the kind of things dream suitors are made of.
He also had cancer.
Cancer. It is a seriously ugly word and something which seemed like people below the age of sixty were immune to. At seventeen death seems a little beyond us. In order to die you have to had the opportunity to fail a subject at university, end up in a gutter astronomically intoxicated (minimum twice), screw up or with a dozen people and experience the implications of unwanted pregnancy at least once. But I learned the hard way that death doesn’t require any pre-requisites.
One morning in February at about 4.30 am he died of a stroke. These were the facts as they were laid out to me. It seems so horrible that we can lead such remarkable existences and yet in the end be reduced to a time and place.
We were seventeen.
He was there one night and not the next.
It was that simple and that complex.
They say there are six stages to grief. I have only ever been pissed. Being seventeen and loose as a six year old’s tooth, friends decided that traditional church going funeral was just not an option. Instead, we threw a massive going away party. Black was banned and we played beats strictly from the iPod of the deceased. At 2 o’clock in the morning we basically had a communal orgy as we dropped it like it was hot to the beats of Hot Chocolate You Sexy Thing (which for the record was the most played song in his iTunes). The night ended lying in the rain with mud caked to my shoulders. I heard the distant sound of pre-marital copulation and people glamorously vomiting into their own hands (some stories to tell the grandchildren), and knew that life was going to be ok.
Still, I spent a number of months being as angst riddled as Bella when Edward dumps her guts in the second installment of the Twilight Saga. I still have days like that sometimes. It is a blast and a half when people look at me like I am a widow; I didn’t even get to claim life insurance. This all sounds insensitive and wrong and incredibly out of touch, but then again so is death.
I hate it when someone says; I am sorry for your loss or even just sorry. I understand they want to be a compassionate human being and offer a bonus pillar of support; but I don’t understand what they are sorry about. They didn’t personally gather cancerous cells and shove them into his blood stream, nor did they induce a stroke. They also didn’t force me to continue a relationship with someone who had shocking taste in music and cancer. It all just happened, for some inexplicable reason.
Life happens; good and bad, for inexplicable unknown reasons. The beauty is in not understanding and finding moments or fragments of existence which are profound. Stephan Chbosky was onto something when he wrote and in that moment we were infinite. If you can find a montage of moments (much like the scenes that flash before someone on Home and Away when after after a long a prosperous life of being divorced seven times and finding out their brother is their father they pass onto the other side during ad breaks) then shouldn’t that be enough?
If I take nothing else from this relationship, my parents need not worry anymore: dropping the dead ex line is the best contraceptive.