against the dying of the light — the third piece.

25 june 2018; photographed by pan ellington.

“I suppose it’s like the ticking crocodile, isn’t it? Time is chasing after all of us.”

I’ve been staring at this blank page for months now, feeling the weight of Her death, the dichotomy that its sudden tragedy being years in the making, the meaning it has & will have for Bee, my raging need to guard the person I knew Her to be & Her legacy, a legacy I must admit I was only beginning to comprehend, the cause — both the cruelty & absolution in it, the cruelty of others, the failures of others & the failures of mine, et cetera, et cetera, et, cetera. There is no making sense of it because it will never, though it does even its surreality. And, like I said, the weight. Of all of these. Things. Where in the actual fuck am I supposed to put all of this? I’ve known the answer to this question from maybe the beginning, it’s really hard to know for sure because it feels so fucking inherent.

“You need not be sorry for her. She was one of the kind that likes to grow up. In the end she grew up of her own free will a day quicker than the other girls.”

on the occasion of Her thirty-ninth birthday, 2017; collage & photograph by pan ellington.

I’d made it for Her on the occasion of Her thirty-ninth birthday last year, a Barrie quote from Peter Pan. I remember thinking as I wrote it out slowly, first in pencil, then in pen, a fine tipped Sharpie, slowly, letter by letter — I remember thinking I had. Looking back, of course, now I kick myself for thoughts of such hubris. And sitting here writing this, I know that I couldn’t, that it wasn’t even up to me.

And then there’s the weight again. And all of these. Things. And then the answer comes. The one I’ve known, maybe from the beginning. Because it feels so fucking inherent.

forever bird, 2017; embroidered by elizabeth webster.

She left me with things. Many things. Some things works of art, both acquired and made, hanging on Our walls. Some things taken in backpack sized loads to the Goodwill on University in the early weeks afterwards. Some things given to Bee, some things still set aside. Some things I still don’t have the heart to get rid of. Her necklaces and earrings and that, a hundred and twenty four episodes of the Golden Girls still on Our Hulu. Some things I’ll use, like Her fancy English soaps and lotions and that, so many I’m certain I’ll be using them for years, gleaning another lit bit left of Her here. Some things I imagine I’ll keep, like Her bottle of Bluebelle. I always did love it on Her.

for bea // secret compartment book, 2018; by elizabeth webster and pan ellington.

She started things here that I’ll finish. And I’ll start the things here that She had planned to do. The essence of Her in my story, my origin tale, in the art I will make. And I’ve no idea how long it will take.

Into all of these go all of the things that total the weight. And out of all these come Her light.

I feel Her in the wind, now. And I hear Her in the birdsongs.

I sat beneath a tree that day when a flock of very small finches alit amongst the branches. They set about collecting their seeds, dropping many all around me. The wind kicked up, and then they all flew on to the next tree. I noticed, though, they didn’t stay as long in the second tree as they did in mine.

My Love.

When we first met She told me She’d always wanted to be a writer’s muse. Little did either of us know…

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