It’s like a metronome subtly picking up pace. The ticks grow quicker without my noticing, and then – it seems – suddenly my hands are vibrating, rapidly twitching in beat with the thumping of my racing heart. I’m on the corner, a block west of where I had a home, where I woke up and brushed my teeth and sometimes stood quietly in the dark at night and just looked at what I had built, what I loved, where in I welcomed the world. Where I found him. My mind is as still as my heart is quick. The adrenaline empties my mind this time, and I can’t focus on what is in front of me- even though I am watching my hands thinking… damn, that’s weird, why am I shaking? And in that hour-long second my mind is empty of everything but one thought: that I MUST help him. That he is there, that he cannot breathe, he can’t breathe, he cannot, why aren’t you helping him, you can’t just sit here and do nothing while he dies he’s dying he’s dying he’s dying and I’m just sitting here, I’m just…
and then the light changes, the little man blinks on and I cross the street, and I take a deep breath and I try to see where I am- ok, he is already dead, that’s a hardware store, I am safe, that’s the grocery store, I cannot help him, there’s a stop sign, he’s already dead. He’s already dead. He’s not fucking breathing and he stopped breathing a long time ago. Huh. A long time ago. In a galaxy far, far away – where time sits still, perching itself on the door frame- the door frame, the last thing I saw before time paused and a vacuum opened up and everything was sucked in and his incredibly strong body is there, but really, really cold.
And now somehow I can see my breath when I walk to the train in the morning and all the leaves are this strange incongruent yellow and auburn, which makes no sense because when did I leave the summer? The heat made sense. It makes sense that my body should be uncomfortable, that just the thought of walking should arouse sweat and stickiness. Now that the days are beautiful and cool, I feel all twisted inside. A knotted tree trunk. I ache on his behalf, listing to the side as the wind blows, full of memories. I grow around his life, I consume it. Who else will know him?
I can’t even finish that thought. I’m like a spilled jar of marbles, each one holding within it a unique thought of him. I hate him, I miss him, people must know about him, I’m so ashamed, I’m scared of my dreams, I’m suddenly sickeningly aware of how fragile everything is… it goes on. But see, I get it out. I walk past the street corner, I touch my living friends, who take me out to dinner, despite my momentary panic attacks on the street corners. It feels good to hug my friend after dinner. He is so warm, his big, beautiful, beating heart sets mine on pace again.