Listen to loud music. Turn it up to eleven and eliminate the silence within which mourning and self-pity germinate. When Josie left I rooted out a Slipknot album I hadn’t listen to in years, cranked up the hi-fi. I sat with my ear pressed to the subwoofer and let Corey Taylor scream for me. The album finished and my ears rang. The room fell into shadow like when a cloud roams across the face of the sun.
Drink it away. This method doesn’t necessarily banish the grief. Instead it rolls it up in a knapsack to take it on a tangential journey. This is a journey in which the grief can never be complete, can never quite overwhelm given its fragmentation. A week after Josie left I spent £200 on alcohol and didn’t speak to a single person. The music played and stopped. The sun rose and fell. The clouds billowed, covering the sky.
Go elsewhere. The most literal form of fleeing. Allow the memories and the mournful totems to be inhabited by empty space. Find a nook or cranny of another town where there is no impression, where your grief is alien, banished on entry. When Josie had been long gone and my liver couldn’t take any more, I hopped a train to London, then France, then wandered aimlessly in Picardy. The plans were lush and green and flat. The milling cattle herds were like shards coalescing into a whole once again.
Vent. Find a willing ear and let it out. If one is not available, go out into a night so cavernous your whole pent-up, prideful emotion can disperse like dandelion florets. I did this one night en route back to Calais. My voice grew so hoarse I could hardly hear myself think, and there was a hauntingly beautiful silence in my head as I boarded the ferry back.
Confront. Take deep breaths and allow your heart to race without running after it. Think not of clicked retorts and proclamations. Simply approach as openly as you did love. Grief is a skittish animal that needs nourishment, and the absence of positivity. The white walls of Dover fixed in my mind like the blank canvas, I drew my return home, my path to Josie’s door, her anxious expression when she opened it. With vibrant colour I detailed the way I would take the noose from around my neck, and drop it in her hands, and
Walk away. Dispel. Become your own ballast.