Saying goodbye

I will post this now, so that you do not have time to all ask me where I have been, what I have been doing, why I would not answer you.

A little after I last used this blog, the Party faction print a notice and put it all over the campus. They say the servers in the library have blown, that the Quarantine Movement volunteers did not take care of them. This is bullshit – I saw party members leave the library that night. They do this to destroy the forum, to take away our means to organise without them. I start to create another forum, on another server, and to make a poster with the URL. When I get back to my room, my workset and papers are gone, my paintings destroyed, my paints are thrown over the room, the walls. I take some clothes and supplies in my bag and leave the dorm building, and on my way out I find many posters that I have just put up are torn in pieces on the ground. Then I hear a shout, and a big group is running towards me. I recognise the Party woman from the meeting, who would not let me speak, and some others, but some I am sure are not from the campus. They have student clothes, but they wear army boots. I run, and there is a gunshot behind me, and I run again, and when I leave the campus they stop chasing me, just shout insults behind me.

When I am far away I check my handset. I do not know who left the warning on my blog, but I did not dare to use it again. I SkIMped only with those I could trust on the campus. I tried to help run the forum from outside, we even tried to take another building secretly, but there are not enough of us to hold it.

Then I see Jack’s post about me, and I remember how much I once cared for him, and realise how little I now care, and I shock myself. I am hard inside and out, now. I have given to others all I have to give. I decide I will leave the latest occupation, and go home, to my mother. I know it will take me a long time. Some vehicles still go between communities, but it is dangerous to give or accept a ride. Every time we think the flu is ended, there is another outbreak somewhere, because one person with anti-virals is still travelling. I steal a bicycle and I raid some food. I hide in empty buildings and try not to be seen. Sometimes I climb onto the back of a truck that goes south and hope I will not be discovered. Three days ago I reached home. I am in a quarantine hostel in the old prison, isolated from others. It is very comfortable, and with more food than I have since the first quarantine. My mother visits, and we talk through a glass window with a telephone. It is so strange, like a screen and a speaker, it could be the same as SkIMp, but the picture is so clear! We cry a lot and speak of everybody that is gone, and then we just sit to be quiet together on either side of the glass. We read, or I paint a picture of her knitting a scarf for me. Then it is not like SkIMp, it is like being together again.

There is much to do. There is no army now. Most died from the flu after there were no more anti-virals, the survivors joined or took over communities. The death is worst in the cities, but the flu also reached many rural areas, especially those near to cities where the army took supplies. All this news is from the forums and blogs – there is no word from government or official Newsnets for many weeks. Some places are controlled by a local party official, others are self-organising, as we were at first. Some farming communities begin to get food to the cities again – neighbourhoods organise trucks to bring in and distribute the food.

I hear news from the campus, because students who wanted me to be a leader still contact me. When the Party take full control they begin lectures again, with a faculty of surviving lecturers and graduate students, all loyal to them, of course. I cannot return there, but others organise against them. I have other things to do. I read medical websites and textbooks, and when my quarantine is over I will begin training at the hospital. Too many doctors have died. It is the best thing I can do.

I want to tell you, also, do not expect to hear more from me soon, and do not worry for me when I do not post to my blog. I think it is wrong for me to keep a blog at this time. It is a distraction, yes, but more than that – it is a way to deceive, and it is dangerous. It is not only Jack that makes me see this. I read again what I wrote of the first quarantine, and it is not a lie, we felt this way and we did these things, but if you read only my blog you might think we had the perfect organisation, real harmony, and it was not like this. The hidden political decisions, the splitting of the party and the quarantine movement – it was in the seed of the quarantine from the beginning, and we might have seen it if we did not paint the better picture for ourselves. We wanted so much to believe in our unity, I wanted to believe in it, and when we showed our quarantine to the world we made it as we wanted it to be, and hoped that this would make it true. We believed in what we created and did not look closely at what we did not want to see. This can happen without a blog or a forum, it happens to every revolution since the beginning of history, but we never learn because, like Jack, we make the comforting story for ourselves and we do not face the reality. I cannot say what that reality is – I am still looking inside and presenting a picture about myself, who is and is not the young woman you once knew, who I feel I must pretend to be on this blog although I no longer know her. On our blogs we lie about ourselves and about the world, to ourselves and to the world. I want to know myself as I am, and to see the world as it is; it is too dangerous for me to create it here. I want to say I love all of you and hope you can rebuild your worlds new, but in truth I do not think you are the same people I knew, and I have no space in my heart to think of your worlds. To say I love you is like trying to make a picture with the dry paint on a palette, a thin film of sentiment left after the real emotion is evaporated, it is not enough. It is the remains of something real, but it is not real. You see, how we make ourselves lie to ourselves and each other, because it is what the blog needs.

This is why I must say goodbye.

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14 thoughts on “Saying goodbye

  1. I don’t get it! We sit around worrying and mourning you for months, then you come back to slap me in the face for wanting to die without you and tell us all you can’t even feel any real love for any of us anymore? And now you won’t even speak to us? You know, we’ve all been through a lot of shit, but that’s way off. We deserve better.

    • Jack, you’re hardly in a position to criticise a voluntary disappearance from the blogosphere, or leaving friends worried. I’m just relieved we heard from Mei again at all, and thank her for explaining herself before doing whatever she needs to start building a new life. Would a pretence that we had a place in that life be any better than the pretences you were trying to maintain?

      • Yeah, it would! Cause you make the effort to show you care, and that makes it true. That’s why I came back to you guys when I stopped caring. I needed that connection again. I’m not exactly one to talk about being genuine, but it’s not just a sham for the rest of us, even if we do it deliberately. We don’t just blog because we care, we care because we blog.

        • No, it’s not a pretence for me, but I understand how Mei feels. I have so much else to care about. Whether I’m at the hospital or in the house or doing a salvage duty, I think all the time of Sarah, training to go out onto the barricade and face off against armed gangs as they approach the city, and it’s a constant worry, a heart-rending shock of love and pain and fear. And much as I care about you two, and Mei, I only think of you when I read your blogs. You’re not the constant in my life. It doesn’t mean I don’t care, but I care in small, manageable pieces, when I have the time to put aside for it. I’m sure you feel the same about me.

          • About you guys, sure. I cared more about Mei. Except I’m beginning to think it wasn’t even really Mei I cared about. She’s not who I thought she was. I loved an idea of Mei.

  2. Y’know what, I never made a hooha of it, but I thought about all of you, all the time, like obsessively, like more than people from the store or my parents or myself. When each one of you stopped posting, I was fucking sick. You were everything to me. And that’s not right, I can see that, it was a fixation, and it doesn’t mean you owe me anything, but it was really you I was caring about, it wasn’t just a nice little pastime. You were all I had, and it meant something. It was real.

      • And that’s why it’s real. I don’t have any illusions about you, or anyone else. That’s why I can’t fucking stand people, and they can’t stand me.

        • But that doesn’t mean you don’t need people. Or that they don’t need you. You’ve both spent a long time alone. I hope you both follow through on that promise about finding communities. I can’t guarantee it’ll be easy, but it’ll put a few things into perspective

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