At the heart of everything is the choice between need and desire. He can want Emily not to be dead, but really, he doesn’t need it. He will continue to breathe and eat, sleep, excrete, spill the remains of his sex drive into one cupped hand in the dark early hours. Sometimes it is the warm scent of JJ he remembers, shivering against his pillow. Sometimes the broadness of Morgan’s hand, spanning the nape of his neck in wordless comfort. Sometimes it is the splayed out corpse of Ian Doyle, pulled apart and dripping lukewarm blood onto his hands like semen or penitent tears.
The invisible sucking chest wound of Emily’s absence could be filled. One quiet trip to old friends with smiles like knives and tiny packets of. (They would even have the equipment to replace what he threw away, years ago. The vernacular is ‘fits’, he remembers, and it’s appropriate because it all used to fit under his skin so nicely.)
In the simplistic hierarchy that undergraduate psychology students quote like Zarathustra, opiates are not explicitly recognised as a need. This means, as a functioning human being he should pack up this desire and stow it away with Gideon’s chess games and the way his father used to smile at him.
He passes a dark, familiar place and thinks, this is where the choice is made between one tourniquet and another. Anything to stop the bleeding, he thinks. Keeps moving, and then the lights are shining out through JJ’s window. Keeps moving still, past and past and around back where the pull is strongest.
Just this once, is the petty thought. Just one time can I have something that I want? Maslow states that one of the fundamental requirements of the human condition is the need for homeostasis. He needs that balance back, needs to replace the part of him that died with his friend. Needs to put back what he keeps sobbing out.
His phone is ringing. JJ calls him ‘Spence’, hey Spence, are you okay? Saw his car, thought he might stop by. If you need to talk, she says, or just some company.
Homeostasis can be reached through osmosis, he thinks. No need to break the skin just yet. His tears are like the trickle of cooling blood.