This isn’t about defenestration, though the word nerd in me is delighted to know that someone, at some point, fought for an uncommon action to have its own word.
Defenestration: to throw something out of a window.
As in: chuck.
Welcome to my dissociation. Because thinking about defenestration is a killer way to forget about how my relationship with a youth I counseled for over a year suddenly ended. I didn’t take her death lightly. Thus, must mute the clamor of reality, the cacophony of devastating memories with some random vocabulary.
Stop it, Chelsey.
Just get her out of your head.
But tears still flow from inside, windows opening.
Sofie didn’t mean to fling. Rather, she slipped. It went like this: fifth floor of a parking garage, the cocktail of depressed and drunk that influenced her to go there, to go over the railing and to toe the edge of the parking garage’s ledge, cell phone in hand, pressed against her ear. Through it, she heard her best friend telling her to get off that ledge. To come down, come back to life. Please. I’ll be there in just a minute. I’m driving to you now. Just don’t jump. Sofie eventually surrendered, agreed, then readied herself to retreat from the influential power of her suicidal thoughts. She turned around and tried to climb over the railing, to climb up towards her life, and that’s when things got tricky. Slippery. Blame the universe or booze or fate or god or some eternal light. Either way, flight.
The hard descent.
The gravity of this situation.
Security cameras saw it all. The slipped foot. The flailing. The fall. Her death. Then, two seconds later her best friend runs up, runs right over to the fresh corpse of her best friend.
This is about fissuring.
Dissociation is a survival tool. It helps us to keep on going beyond the cracks caused by grief’s gravity.
Let’s talk about chicken wings.
Scene: Pizza delivery driver dude—he’s white—is delivering a pizza to two young black chicks who, like Sofie, I counseled. The chicks ask where the wings? White dude looks at order. No wings mentioned. He reports this to them. And because they are black and young and female and poor they suspect the white dude is stealing from them. And because they are black and young and female and poor, the white dude suspects they’re trying to steal from him.
How they all know these things about each other and how they don’t even know each other. How light skin clashes with dark skin even when everyone involved dreams of color not being a concern.
It’s not on the order, white dude repeats. No chicken wings. The black chicks’ irritation swiftly shifts past frustration and dives into rage as the delivery driver says, That’s all you’re getting.
White dude leaves.
They don’t take this lightly.
Young black chicks jump in their car and speed to the pizza store where white delivery driver dude is also just now pulling into. They block his door. They yell at him. Cuss at him. Motherfucker stole our chicken wings! They’re acting like they’re going to jump him. He ignores them. Or tries to. Manager comes outside, becomes a buffer. He doesn’t understand what’s up with the angry customers. Regardless, he doesn’t want dissatisfaction to be associated with his business. The white delivery driver dude gets out of his car with the manager standing between him and them, promising some chicken wings. He hustles into the store as the young black chicks continue to yell at him about how they’re going to jump his ass because of what’s been stolen from them.
What was stolen from me: Sofie.
Later, when I hear about this chicken wing story, it is not narrated by those two young black women whom I’ve known for over a year and have seen the unrelenting racism they face each day. The oppression that is continuously, heavily heaved upon them. Instead, I hear the story from the white delivery driver dude.
My feminist and anti-racist husband.
My husband who has always supported the work I do with young black women.
What a plot twist, a little slip of irony in here.
He tells me about how he escaped into the store, describes how he was scared because they were threatening to jump him, and how he thought he’d get shot at just because of some (possible) missed chicken wings. Really?
Dissociation done with.
For now, let’s move on.
That’s not what happened to Sofie.
She wasn’t chucked, shoved, or pushed. She didn’t jump. No leaping involved. Sofie fell, descended to her death, and I’m trying to turn away from dissociation like how she was trying to turn away from suicide on that ledge, but then she slipped off its lip and fell and now thinking about this event crashes me down, hard, into a low, cemented depression I don’t know how to survive without the life-saving skill of dissociation.
Come on back now.
Yes, two threats here: One to jumping. One to getting jumped.
Sofie fell and a few days later chicken wings were fought over.
What I have wanted to say since then:
You’re worried about chicken wings, while over here we have people falling off buildings.
Note: I don’t take racism lightly.
Fun fact: chickens can’t fly.
Their wings aren’t strong enough and their bodies aren’t aerodynamic enough and they just aren’t lightweight enough to do anything that even resembles flight.
Like Sofie did on the sidewalk from five stories up.
Like this ending does now. Plop.
What else can be said about such a merciless, callous dichotomy woven together because of the ways in which life and faith and being human can get a little slippery at times. How life at times chucks our happiness. Our sanity. Humanness.
The windows continue to open. Grief released.