Darker Matter: A Memoir

If I was the earth, 
And you, the clouds, I'd pray this: 
Please, God. Let it rain.

Chapter 8

Eddie came next.

She leaned in until our faces were almost touching. She stared at me silently for a while, and then lightly grazed her nose across my forehead, as soft as butterfly’s wings.

We had been dating for just a couple of years.

“Are you still gonna be able to kiss me?” she teased gently.

Feigning composure.

Many, many more years would pass before she told me about how close she came to breaking up with me. About how most of her friends were scared for her, and wanted this crazy person out of her life. About how she even asked a nurse at one point if couples make it through this sort of thing.

Despite all of that, we would be together for another 9 years. And although we ultimately didn’t stay together, to this day she is my closest friend, and one of the greatest delights of my life.

But in that moment, and for many moments after that, she kept her fears and doubts close to her chest. My crushing shame and self-hate rendered me incapable of acknowledging what the last six months – let alone this climactic event – were truly like for her.

Instead, she pulled a homeopathic remedy out of her bag and dropped it into her water bottle. I watched her dip her finger in the solution and then draw it carefully across my lips, under my chin, around my sutures, again and again.

I was still too nervous to move or talk, so I nodded as faintly as I could each time she dabbed at me, hoping this tiny gesture would convey how grateful I was for her presence, her care.

For the love that I didn’t feel like I deserved.


The lessons I have learned during this healing journey of almost 20 years have been difficult, obviously. But the hardest by far (and, in fact, the one that took the longest to learn) was the ability to soften my self-loathing part to the point that I could invite my loved ones to tell me about their own experience of my illness, without them having to edit out their suffering to soothe my inner critic.

This capacity to make amends would prove to be one of the most transformative aspects of my life, and I’m grateful every day.

I know that eventually I need to explain my own particular meaning of the term “amends”.

But for now, that will have to suffice. That’s years in the future. And we are just at the beginning.

Chapter 9

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7 responses to “Chapter 8”

  1. I was just talking to someone about this…how incapable I was at comprehending what I put people through. Self-centered and could not for the life of me fathom that someone would actually care. Brings back a lot I hope to never forget (lest I return to it). Thank you ❤

    • Yes, that’s a very good point, remembering as a means of preventing repetition of old patterns. Thank you for this, and as always, for your courageous candor <3

  2. This is damn good. I’ll read all of it, but it’s already painful. But you have a gift my new friend. You must find a way to reach a wider audience. You deserve it. Well done, you.

    • Wow…Michael, thank you for the lovely compliment. It means a lot to me. You’re right – it’s very painful…I don’t blame you for needing a break. Palate cleanser in Chapter 11 if you want to skip there <3

      • Hey, we’re friends now. I’ll start at chapter 1 and savor every line. We stand apart in an unfair world, unencumbered by all of the things that have brought this very minute into being. What better way is there to honor this moment and a friend than to share matters of the heart through great writing? You have an incredible gift, and I’m fortunate to be able to read. Where would true art be, what would it be, without pain that others can relate to? How would I know what a smile feels like if I had never cried? I’m taking the whole trip. I’m in. ❤️☮️

      • I’m honored. Thank you Michael. It will be a saga for sure. I take heart in the fact that I’m not doing it alone. Your words remind me of the Mary Oliver poem Wild Geese…”Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.”
        I’m truly grateful to have you along for the ride ❤️

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