Drake using a lint roller at a basketball game (Click here for the full footage)
I keep trying to write about this footage I saw of Drake sitting at the front of a basketball game rolling the lint off his trousers with one of those little sticky rollers. Why? Because the thought of Drake keeping a lint-roller in his pocket and using it while men throw balls through hoops sums up his everythingness and nothingness in a way that makes my heart sing. It’s so fantastically boring and hygienic. It’s the most sexless fetish I’ve seen. I did not think I could love Drake more, and then he did this, and now I do.
But then I remember that three people I know have died this month, all of them younger than me, and then I don’t know what to think about, except for fear and dread lurching up from my belly to the place between my breasts where there is now a scraping feeling – a bit like a dragon is trying to be born. I don’t know what the dragon wants, but there are only crumbs for it to feed on at present because crumbs are all I’ve got. Can it live off them? I don’t know. I don’t know much about anything.
Death is supposed to come afterwards. After everything else, the last thing. Not an in between conversation-stopper when people were on their way to getting somewhere. It isn’t a bus, it’s the terminus. Then it does this; takes a two-year-old child and a woman in her twenties and a man in his thirties, in three different places, and the tablecloth goes whizzing across the room, yanked by hands we do not recognise and come to hate all the same.
But it turns out that your soul is the whole world.
And the world still turns. And there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it. You can’t stop and get off, unless you want to add to the death list – which you don’t. So you keep your feet planted on the Earth any way you can, the dialogue between your soles and the ground maintained at any cost. Whether they’re bare feet on wet grass or high heels snapping as you fall over outside the bar crying, crying like you’re never going to be able to feel loss like this again. Only you are, because it all comes round again, and the only solution is to make your heart soft and lovely enough that it can let the grief in and keep it warm. Expand the walls of your heart so that grief lives in it for however long it takes – perhaps forever – without pushing the love out. The hardened heart isn’t what gets you through life, because the harder your heart gets the more likely the next thing that lands on it is to shatter.
And grief is only the botched underside of love. If you didn’t have such a huge capacity to care, to give a damn, you wouldn’t be broken like this. Someone’s death matters to you because their life mattered to you. I used to tell myself that nothing really mattered because humans were made of 70 percent water – and what is real in any of this dream of consciousness anyway? It's something I had to rethink when I found out how much water can hurt.
Your soul is the whole world.
The pain is yours to keep, but it is not your keeper.
Back to today. But today I keep remembering things. A school trip where we touched the skin of a snake after it had been shed – we watched the skin slide off it and the snake slowly wiggle free, and the thing that struck me was that its old skin was still warm between my finger tips. I remember a children’s story book about the bear hunt, when they encounter long grass and muddy bits, and – a bit like grief, I now realise – they can’t go over it and they can’t go under it. They just have to go right through it. I remember lots of things. I remember going to a branch of Boots in St Johns Wood with the man who has just died. It was a weekday morning and I remember asking the woman at the counter for the morning-after pill. She said that timing was crucial for the efficacy of the pill and asked us when it was exactly that relations had been had – and he and I looked at each other and said, “About 45 minutes ago.”
You can buy all the umbrellas you like, but one day the rain will just come and land on you. The others didn’t make it, and you did, and you don’t understand why – you will never understand why. You can’t construct a winning argument out of grief or get to the end of it – draw a line under it. It isn’t fair that you are here, but here you are. And your soul really is the whole world. And somewhere in it there is still a song.
As Mike Tyson said, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.