Last night, death. She was thirty-three – blond hair, playground-swing hips, ingenuous eyes – and blessed with the sort of smile that pharmaceutical companies could research to cure depression.
Absence has a profound presence. It lingers inside the empty coffee cup that rests upon the counter like a headstone, atop an unattended breakfast chair and in empty passenger seats, stares up from the bottom of a trash can on a now unnecessary plane ticket that reads Fiji – the two dots and a smile inscribed on a yellow post-it with the words “soo looking forward to this” – and in the cold silence of a chill morn.
As life departs, memories appear, inanimate objects now resonating with humanity, death’s breath exhaling through their fabrics and frames. The comforts of linen, as if thread counts and fluffy pillows could lessen the torturous throbbing of a past existence; I glance at my bed, the tossed sheets a rumpled metaphor for my world, flung about upon the mattress of her past, with no direction and a hovering reluctance to cover anything at all. Like clouds over a snow-laden plain, my pillows rest gently at the top of the bed, the wrinkled cotton of one, emblematic of restful sleep, the stiff pressed fabric of the other, illustrative of something now gone. I remember her laughing at me as I tucked the pillow under my chin, then struggled to slip on the pillowcase, as though attempting to adorn jeans two sizes too small. She conjured a joke about pigs in a blanket, and I’d tackled her onto the bed and we’d made love until the afternoon’s breeze floated into the freeze of night.
But life’s dreams can be interrupted.
3:00a.m. Ring ring, A callous coroner calling. Your life has just changed. Sleep well.
Today I am < 1.