Another wobbly day.

Mealtimes are battles. (Go! Go heat food! Go cook! Go eat!) The instructions to eat need to be loud or they aren’t heard. I do eat, but hours after I feel hungry. It takes that long to win.

Otherwise, it’s fine.

I don’t seem to do very much. The sink was clogged in the morning, and I deal with that. I cook. I wash the dishes. I scrub the laundry. I am pondering the idea of polishing shoes.

I take a nap and farmers wake me up to sell vegetables.

I think of today as a holiday, when I don’t need to do very much.

I let Veroushka try all the makeup on again. It is a little more successful the second time around.

I am reminded this morning not of the photo shoots, but of Natalya’s love. It is what she did and it is like having a remnant of her on me.

I don’t exactly remember her hands on me as I do this—I could, but what I mean is there isn’t that sense of a ghost touching me—but there is a general memory of tenderness.

I realize I need a remnant. Veroushka realizes she needs a remnant. She thought Charlie was stupid, smelling Natashka’s shampoo and thinking about sex all the time, but she understands the logic of it now.

She understands the loss is like an addiction. The craving to still be with the girl she loves is like wanting heroin again, and she can’t give it up overnight. She needs methadone of some.

She needs a remnant. It is a different remnant she needs, but she still needs one.

No part of me can live without her.

Living without her can’t be the goal. It is not realistic. Unrealistic goals are not motivating, and nothing will happen if I try for that.

The goal has to be to go on living in any way I can. The goal has to be to figure out how to live with pain.

In the night, I have to pee. It is midnight—I couldn’t stay up to see the New Year in. I was too sleepy. But it’s cold in the evenings, and I drink hot water to stay warm. So then I wake up in the small hours of the morning these days.

So I get up. I pee. I go back to bed.

But I wake up Katya. I wake up Katya-wobbly, stumbling little-girl-like into the toilet, and then back to bed again. In bed, the pain is like knives in my stomach. I am so angry. Why is Nata dead?

Why did someone kill her?

They aren’t answerable questions. They are just about life being unfair.

It is unfair.

I have to live with that. I have to live with waking in the night and crying or waking in the night and wanting to break things. Or both.

And I can’t just wait it out. I can’t just say it will get better in time. Time heals. Etc. Time does not heal. It did not heal. Natashka died 28 years ago. That isn’t to say it won’t get better, but just that getting better needs help. Getting better is my responsibility. I have to heal. Time isn’t going to do it for me.

I don’t have a plan about this, except that it goes back to that idea of taking the edge off. I have been going about this wrong. Or some part of me has. I have tried to take too much pain. Or I have shoved the pain away entirely, because I thought I could not feel pain. I have remained in limbo because of that, unable to grieve. Assaulted or numb. There will be no such thing as comfortable pain for me, but I need something to take the edge off. I have had open-heart surgery, and no one will prescribe oxytocin, but I at least need an aspirin.

It is okay if it always hurts. It is okay if it is always feeling stabbed with knives, but I need to keep getting through the night.