Dearest Rachel –
I feel like I should feel worse about the situation regarding Kevin’s accident, but it’s not coming to me at this point. I haven’t been able to shed a single tear about him, and that rather upsets me. it just doesn’t seem right. And yet, I’m aware of many different things that might contribute to all this, and sort of explain, if not exactly excuse, my lack of reaction to it all.
First, and most obviously, there’s the factor of distance. When it’s a ten hour drive either way from one house to the other, it tends to not be traveled all that frequently. And so, we don’t see each other that often, and as the old saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” Were it not for certain adjustments made during the pandemic, his absence wouldn’t otherwise be felt until late in May, when Daniel and I would ordinarily be heading down there to see him.
Those adjustments include our weekly gaming sessions – and losing him makes those online connections (assuming the three of us are going to continue, which we seem to have thus far agreed upon) that much emptier – but it’s not like we haven’t been through this already once before. And you were closer, physically, geographically and emotionally, to each of us.
Not that any of that makes it easier, but it means that whatever our reaction to Kevin’s sudden departure, it’s going to be less than that applied to your own. And since we’ve… well, ‘gotten over it’ isn’t quite the right phrase, but maybe… acclimatized ourselves? to your absence over the course of these couple of years, it stands to reason that our response would be somewhat muted, right?
Besides, even in our weekly online get-togethers, his is just another disembodied voice on the other end of the line. It’s not quite the same thing as getting together face-to-face; although in fairness, I’m really glad the four of us got a chance to assemble again one last time this past Sunday after nearly a month and a half of absences due to the holidays (both the preparation and the celebration). It would have been so much worse if, after all this time apart, he just disappeared from our lives without one last get-together like we had.
But with that being said, I find myself questioning the closeness of our relationship if I can’t find it in me to get upset about what’s happened. The fact that any ‘closeness’ there was between us has to be something other than literal should be beside the point.
Of course, it’s not just that I might be able to assert that we weren’t literally close. Life goes on, regardless of the news you read, hear or otherwise get. Even in the moments after I read the email, I still had to get dinner for the boys and myself. The fact that I proceeded to text the girls while waiting in the drive-through line, while necessary (Daniel and I agreed that, while we would be meeting tonight for dinner, it would be better to let them know as soon as possible – that’s not the time to drop a bombshell like this upon them), still felt somewhat perfunctory, like a task that needed to be taken care of in its proper sequence.
Speaking of ‘required’ tasks, I’d been asked by Ray (Kevin’s stepdad) if I would say a few words about him if I were to come down there for the memorial service on Sunday; or, if not, to send those words to be read. You would think that, given how much practice I get in of writing to you, I could just bat something off, but you’d be wrong. Yesterday in particular was just me off my game. I could barely come up with an introduction, let alone a suitable summation of my impressions of him.
Much of that was (and still is) due to my own self-distraction, since I’ve already been absorbed in this AI art project, and testing various checkpoint files (and trying to ascertain how best to incorporate your photos into each and any of them). It’s made that much worse by the fact that this is a somewhat selfish pursuit, when I have an actual responsibility to deal with in terms of him.
And it’s not just those things I want to do that distract me both from this task and my emotions; there are actual responsibilities to take care of at the ‘office.’ I get requests to tally and sort data all the time, and especially with the monthly meetings for both camp and church coming up yesterday. So there were those things to deal with while I was trying to write (even as I was wishing I was doing something else entirely).
On top of this, I still can’t seem to stop people from contacting me via Google Chat, nor can I refrain from politely (or not so politely – you’ll see in a moment) responding to them. The ‘girls’, I think I can handle, but when a guy texted me, claiming to be from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, claiming to be offering grants to random people on the internet, I wonder if I haven’t found a way to kill two birds with one stone. The latest girl claims to be down to her last $30, which has to keep her fed until the 25th, and while she hadn’t (up until then) actually come out and asked for money, I know it’s coming. I decide to connect the Gates Foundation man with her and let her receive the grant he’s offering. After all, one random person should be as good as another for him, right? I figured I could get them both off my back, and focus on my tasks, if not my emotional state (or lack thereof).
Of course, it didn’t work out that way. She promptly came back from their private conversation saying he wanted $150 in order to put in an application with the Foundation. Now, it goes without saying that I never made such an application myself, so this confirmed my suspicions that Gates Foundation Man was a scammer. Unfortunately, this caused the girl – who originally had been grateful to me for offering her my ‘opportunity’ at a grant – to overtly start pleading me for money. I tried to be polite and deferential, but at some point, I had to flat-out just say ‘no.’ I haven’t heard from her since.
So yeah, I was rather distracted by everything going on around me yesterday, too much to truly respond to it all. Not that this excuses me from my lack of response to Kevin’s passing; although, I’ve heard it argued that to feel bad about not feeling bad is, in its own way, sufficient. And, for what it’s worth, it seems my unconscious mind (quite literally) helps me out in these circumstances: I woke up at two in the morning with a thorough outline in my head. As much as I didn’t want to wake up – or at least, not stay up – I spent the next hour or so transcribing what I could, and finished fleshing it out here at the office. I’ll fill you in on the details on Sunday, when it would otherwise be delievered.
For now, I think I’m going to get back to my projects. Keep an eye on me, honey, and wish me luck. I’m going to need it.
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