Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Any minute he might walk in


For me, the on/off world with him was never any vivider than that last afternoon. Or at least the one I think was the last. I might've gone to the window to watch him down the street to his car in the soft yellow morning....October, when warmth is married to liquid in a way that heats you all the way in, marinating skin and ribs and heart in that golden haze.

It happens in the commonest of ways. One day the person just isn't there anymore. Nothing was said, or done. He went out the door into the same city as you, and you never saw him again.

When he didn't come back right away I didn't even wonder for several hours more. And then days went by. Weeks. I imagined that the phone rang and rang inside the empty rooms of my house while I was at work. Knowing that he'd call when things were right again, I didn't bother to catch up with him. Probably, I'd already lost him then.

I let go too soon and he went scudding along the edges of my life where he was always apt to be. And even after he moved across the country and started up a life with people I didn't know, still I believed that I'd see him again sometime. Any minute he might walk in the door, call up from a booth in the midwest, drop a line.
For a long time I found in my sleep that I was still living in the long-ago months when he was with me, and would wake with the thought that he'd be waiting in the hall when I came out of class that afternoon.

And even after he had walked on out the door that last morning, I didn't change anything. I left the lampshade cocked, socks balled under the bed, his towel damp from the shower dangling over the edge.

Tonight I washed my hair in a steamy shower to get relief from the ache of weeping from news of his death. I went outside to hang the towel, and the air was thick with mist and something like the smell of beets cooking in very little water. The sky hung low, and the now-faint katydid sound was steady, full of night. It happened at the house of a friend down south. She came home from work and found him in a chair, naked, a faded turquoise beach towel dropped to the floor beside him.

10 Comments:

Blogger Springer Kneeblood said...

God, I wish I could write like that. I could become a believer. I WOULD become a believer. I'd renounce my heresy and welcome in the Kingdom. I think I'm in love with you; who couldn't love someone who writes like that?

1:03 PM  
Blogger jo(e) said...

So beautifully said.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Don said...

You have my deepest condolences on your loss. Who was he in relation to you? Friend? Lover? Son? Someone completely different?

2:06 AM  
Blogger Kathryn and Ari said...

How heartbreaking. I wish I could say something profound right now, but I don't feel as if I've yet come to a place where I can reflect on loss in anything other than a viceral way. I want to belive old brother Walt that he and everyone else is beneath our bootsoles. At least, that's where I hope I will someday rest.

Feel better, friend.

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Deborah Godin said...

That's the rust part - you never know when something is going to turn out to be the last. And unlike what they say about 'living each day as if it were your last' we cannot be in a relationship that way. Nor, I believe, should we, or we might miss the diamonds.

11:08 AM  
Blogger BlackenedBoy said...

I am very sorry to hear about that. I hope you'll be alright. Although this is no consolation, the post was excellent. You capture heartbreak, regret, shock, and sadness so vividly, of course because you're actually living it.

Just remember the people who are still here, the ones who didn't go, the ones, both family and friends, who love you.

3:44 PM  
Blogger hele said...

Your writing reminds me of autumn and the way in which it spins memory into it sunlight.

12:59 AM  
Anonymous Jarrett said...

I admire how you observe so closely that you steer us away from wanting to know the who/what/where and especially the why. Beautiful.

5:07 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I'm so sorry. What a sad and poignant story.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Wayfarer Scientista said...

So sorry, so crazy too how these things happen...I just had a similar experience. And it's funny how a chunk comes loose from the heart even after all the time.

11:09 PM  

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