As she lay dying, we made the long drive back from his parents’ house. By which I mean, he was driving, not me. I don’t drive, I don’t know how. First I wasn’t allowed to because I wasn’t old enough, then I wasn’t allowed to because of medications, finally I wasn’t allowed to because of seizures. Now I am twenty-eight and embarrassingly, still without a driver’s license. Unless I can get my health under control, I’m not sure that I’ll ever get one.
Her death was with me, weighing on me. I speak up about it, an attempt to lighten my load. I talk of her presence in the scene, how much of an impact it made on me, a young femme dominant. I talk about the tea party I attended at her house, and how much of my love of tea service can be attributed to her. I talk about the love I saw between her and her slave, how it was always something that simultaneously warmed my heart and made it ache, not knowing if I would ever get to experience that kind of love.
“That must be hard,” he says. “To outlive your owner.” And at that I become quiet. There is too much to say, so I say nothing at all, and instead I look out the window, into the night roads, illuminated by street lights. Finally, I reply with a requisite: “I think it must be hard for an owner to outlive their property, too.”
And it must be, I’m sure, but that is not really what is on my mind, which is flooded with thoughts and sorrow.
I think about my property–him–and how, if our relationships lasts, he will almost surely outlive me, something for which I am self-centeredly grateful.
I think about how I always wanted to ask her for mentorship, and how I was intimidated to approach her about it, so I didn’t, and now I never will.
I think that while she lived a full and rich life, she still died too young. I think about the precariousness of my health, my uncertainty of my own life expectancy. I wonder if I will still be here in ten years, in twenty.
I think about myself. I think about heartbreak dogs, and whether those of us who are destined to die young are really worth loving in the first place. (I am not certain, myself.)
But most of all, I think about her, and her smile, and her class, and her generosity, and how I wish I had had the chance to know her better. I think how scared she must be, and how alone she must feel, and how I am certain she is handling it all with the grace and poise we have all known her so well for. I think on all these things and my heart fills with grief: for her, for her loved ones, and, selfishly, for myself.