“How are you?”
“Let me know if you need anything.”
Forgive me, please. I know it comes from love. But ‘how are you’ forces me to reveal myself, to open up my wound and shape it into words for the sake of someone else. It makes me vulnerable while the asker remains untouched and safe.
It requires something of me when I cannot be held to any task. It forces me to analyse how I am feeling and summarise it for you, when how I am changes from minute by minute and I have no idea how I am because I’m in it and I’ve never been here before and there are no words that feel enough. My father, ‘Aba’, is gone.
Sometimes I’m numb and sometimes robotic and sometimes I get a sharp ache in my chest. Sometimes there’s a flashback that makes me jolt and sometimes I’m despondent; I feel helpless often and usually it’s just a heaviness and a blandness and a lackluster blah and sometimes I forget and then remember like a punch in the gut. I’m confused a lot of the time and my memory is fractured.
Mornings and nights are sad, sadder than any sadness I’ve ever known. Do you see why it’s hard when you ask me how I am?
I answer: ‘Okay’ or ‘Fine’ or ‘ummm’ or ‘I don’t know what to say’ or ‘I find that question hard’ but I’d rather not be asked at all if that’s ok.
I know you want to show me that you care, so you could say, ‘I’m thinking of you’ or ‘What are you doing right now?’ or ‘I saw this poem and wanted to send it to you’.
I need specifics. Not ‘How are you?’ but ‘What did you do this morning?’ or ‘How was your sleep?’