Tomorrow would have been a day of splendid heraldry.
Five years to the day.
We had picked out every detail, lost in the tremendous, anxious excitement of a day celebrating our love.
The start of everything.
That last evening was full of mundane details in which tragedy lent a mythic resonance
I had undercooked the spaghetti.
You complained for forty minutes about your job, then started work on a spreadsheet.
The headache was down to stress; you said. We kissed, your eyes were dull with fatigue but you whispered for me to wake you in an hour and cupped my crotch.
I still feel the squeeze of your fingers against me.
You did not wake up and the world ended. If the devil had come and asked me to trade places, I would have in a heartbeat.
The flat became unbearable. Selling it was like chewing a limb off to escape a trap, and it hurt as much.
I could recite the memories, large and small, but I need to say this without crying.
Let me have my stoicism. Just once.
A smaller apartment. Your family became feral in their grief, but I asserted my primal, mourning authority and was the first to take the share of the treasures your passing made of simple things.
They are in the spare room. Boxed up with the lids unsealed so I can torture myself and mourn in one visit.
Lying there last night, I had left a light on. Which I don’t do, do I?
It used to irritate you how I would turn off the lights when we were not in the room. My way of showing you I had your security in mind. I figured you knew, but it got lost in translation.
The light came from the spare room. I had spent the evening reading the blizzard of post-it notes you left around the place. An oversight, but I got out of bed and check.
I opened the door, expecting to turn off the light, see all I had left of you and go back to bed, wounded and feverish.
Lights strung along the ceiling. Bunches of willow branches dusted with glitter hung on the walls. Throw pillows piled in the corner.
It brought me to my knees and I laid there, fetal and sobbing until my pills kicked in.
In the grey light of morning, it had all gone. Wiping my eyes did not make it any better.
The lights still coiled into a wreath. Pillows mummified into a vacuum-sealed bag. Branches resting in a pool of glitter.
Madness would be a relief. I could discount it as my imagination. The gesture, though, baby, it’s you.
I am seeing the doctor later. I wanted to run it by you first before I say anything.
Are there rules over there? Are you twiddling the dials on a celestial radio, looking for a song you need to hear?
Sitting here talking to a lump of Italian marble with your name carved into it makes as much sense as anything else these days. It all boils down to a binary decision.
Pills or poltergeist?
I will leave the things where they are tonight.
I hope it’s you rather than me.
OK, got to go. I love you.
I will look for you, baby.