Cockroach

God. There was a cockroach in my rented room in Toronto. On top of an old floral decorated, tan colored hat box. I’d just sat up in bed, repulsed, to take a photo of the disgusting insect before making good on crunching it when the call came. After hanging up, I sat over edge of the bed, hung my head and sobbed, growing increasingly inconsolable. The cockroach had moved closer, it’s antennae whirring. But for that, I was all alone in the dim dark. More alone than ever, the call confirmed. And I didn’t want to be alone. I heard the Airbnb family in their kitchen, down the hall, laughing with the clank of dishes being passed around a table. I needed people in that moment, so I got up and walked across the room but I couldn’t get past the door frame. I couldn’t bring myself to share what had happened with strangers. I didn’t want to visit my grief on their fun. Every joyful laugh through the walls furthered my isolation. That cockroach was my only comfort. I hadn’t squished it and I wouldn’t squish it. I just folded in on myself and crumbled over the bed, staring at its tiny movements through a slow and steady stream of tears. The cockroach’s aimless dance beneath the glow of the small nightstand lamp put me to sleep. It’s been six years since she left this world. I’ve thought of her nearly every day since; of the past, of what I might’ve done to change things, and of the future that vanished along with her. But I hadn’t remembered that cockroach until just now, listening to this song. That dark brown, hard shelled insect was there for me. Its presence showed me more mercy than any living thing ever had– so much more mercy than I’d had in store for it moments before. It makes remembering that night bearable at all. When I felt my most alone, I wasn’t alone. For as much cruelty and unexplained pain as there is in this universe, there is so much connection. There is just so much connection that it simultaneously drains and fills me until I am left as nothing but a vessel for feeling everything I’ve been too afraid to feel again. There is just so much. It’s enough to make me want to push past every door frame I’ve stopped short at. It’s enough to make me want to really live. 

written on 10/03/2019 by: Matt Kane