I prefer real flowers, even so

I wrote this late at night on February first. I had received some devastating news, and because Jak was away for a long weekend I was alone. I didn’t post it then, and of course I no longer feel exactly the same as I did, but there’s still truth here, and beauty, so I offer it to you now … whoever ‘you’ may be.

•   •   •

“They’re not real, so they last forever. Isn’t that neat?”

I had Lars and the Real Girl from Netflix but I’d been avoiding it all weekend, thinking it would be bleak and sad, and I just didn’t think I could handle more sadness.

But then I got more sadness anyway, a lot more, and as it got late at night — too late to phone anyone for help — I got desperate for distraction, and tried it anyway. And strangely, it turned out to be really good for me.

Here I am, hating the fact that I hurt so easily and so deeply, wishing that I could just be half-numb like everyone else (comparatively speaking). And then here’s this story about a guy who hurts so much more than I do, so much that he can hardly stand for anyone to touch him with even a single finger. Like the physical pain of skin against skin is more than he can bear. And I think geez, there are a lot of things that hurt me that much, but at least I can still be touched. And okay, that’s part of the problem — my desire to be touched, and loved, is what got me into trouble, maybe what always gets me into trouble (and gods help me the next time someone offers to hold my hand, I might literally run away screaming) — but it’s part of my salvation too.

And I’m feeling the world shrink around me, like every person I lose is one more irreplaceable thing, that the only people I can trust are the ones who’ve been totally solid for a decade or more, and it’s an ever-dwindling number (like what now, two? maybe three?) and once they’re gone I’m just done, because I can’t, I can’t … I just want to curl up in a ball of alone and die.

And there’s this whole community that rallies around this poor guy, embracing something absolutely absurd, because … I don’t know why. Because he’s a sweet guy, I guess. He inspires kindness.

It doesn’t really have anything to do with my life, but it was beautiful.


  1. 17 Feb 2010 at 8:34 am

    I hope you’re doing better. (It really was a precious movie.)

  2. 18 Feb 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I am doing better now. Thank you. :)

  3. 19 Feb 2010 at 7:34 am

    “Lars and the Real Girl” was a good film. When my wife and I decided to watch it we were worried that it would be a bit too icky-creepy, but it turned out to be a very revealing movie. I’m glad it was the right movie at the right time for you. I would hate to think what would have happened if you had rented “Happiness” that evening.

  4. 24 Jun 2010 at 11:56 am

    Hey, your website is back… I’ve been periodically scanning google to see if you’d pop back up, and here you are :)

    Sending much love and hugs from across the water, I’ll always be thinking well of you xxx

  5. 30 Nov 2010 at 10:46 pm

    I wrote something and used the same quote in 2008, and I just stumbled across it now. But I didn’t properly source it (like I should), and so I wondered where it was from. And that’s how I found this.

    I like what you wrote.

    There is allegedly a condition called “skin hunger,” in which people don’t get enough physical contact. I’ve seen sources claim a study of World War II orphans concluded that too little physical touch could cause sickness and even death, but I don’t know the veracity of those claims.

    But I do know there were periods in my life where I went so long without any real physical contact, that when such contact did occur it really startled me. I remember my brother touching my hand once and I jumped—my heart skipped a beat—even though I was watching him and not really surprised that it was going to happen.

    Reflecting on it I realized I probably hadn’t had as much as a handshake in months, and it sort of freaked me out a lot.

    But thanks for writing this. It brings a real clarity to some feelings.

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