When Spirit passed away I went into free-fall. I fucked-up just about every aspect of my life to some degree or another, changing anything and everything so I wouldn’t notice the empty space she left behind. At the time it was a big ol’ mess – physically and psychologically – but in retrospect it was probably the best way I could have gotten through.
There’s always the possibility of becoming stagnant in your grief, stiff like a statue monument to what’s gone and irrecoverable. I know this, because it’s how I became when I lost Monster; frozen in the moment and endlessly dwelling on the wound so it would never heal.
When the dust settled around my grief this time, there was a car in my backyard. Not entirely an impulse buy, but certainly unexpected. I’d long ago decided I was destined to be perpetually beholden to public transport, sans the responsibility of feeding, watering, shoeing, registering, and maintaining a vehicle. “I’ll never have to pay for parking!” I’d boast, like it was a personal triumph over those silly enough to invest in the whole ‘I have a car’ lifestyle.
It’s not an amazing car, but it’s the perfect ‘first’ car for a learner driver. And it’s the first car I bought for myself, which means something. Not sure what, but it means ‘something’. It’s my car. My little Getz.
I did my time as a learner driver, collecting all the hours necessary (50) to progress to the next stage in an overly-complicated sequence for becoming a full-fledged licensed driver. And late last week I passed (read: aced!) my provisional test. I can now drive without supervision, and can scratch that off my ‘before I turn 40’ bucket list.
I still miss Spirit. All the time. I cry at least once a week thinking about how much I miss her affection and company. But if she hadn’t left me, I wouldn’t be in this place now, where I can get into my own car and drive myself anywhere I want, without a supervisory co-pilot. My time is more my own than it ever was. I wish I could share it with her, this opportunity to just… go. “Let’s find a beach, Spirit!” I’d say. “Let’s play in some sand and some surf this afternoon.” I think she would have liked that.
But I will have Buddy soon enough, and maybe he’ll enjoy all the things Spirit enjoyed, and I can take him places Spirit and I couldn’t go, because I never learned to drive. My world just got bigger, and I need a new friend to help me fill it.