The question ‘how are you?’ isn’t easily answered. How many ways to say you’re tired? How often can you say you are? Fatigue’s myriad facets – light-headed (as if falling into a faint), leaden, breathless, pain-ridden, dizzy, dopey, feral, fretful, hyper, perfectly still, a form of suspense, of stasis, of falling – are at best interesting to the ‘owner’ who is on the look-out for differently hued sensations when there’s nothing else.
Staying in touch, even by email, is an entangled task. The longer the silence, the more beleaguered the place from which you speak. You emerge, wave your bit of bunting about, and disappear again. Balls are dropped, utterances measured, maybe too harshly. Stand-alone phrases like “I think of you often” which lap at your shore after weeks, months, longer, and practically preclude response, seem like a slap-down, a form of masticated casual kindliness. You feel petty for saying this, bothersome, but imagine you receive a letter in the post and recognize an old friend’s handwriting. When you open the envelope you find it empty.