He passed away.
His draws of breath weakened from one to the next. The movements of his limbs slowed and almost seemed liquid.
The children crowded around him, begged for a song. He indulged them, strummed out spare chords, sung strange and hypnotic lyrics to the mesmerized throng of youth.
She spoke French to him, her rhythm halting, her accent awkward but lovely. Her grammar was flawed but much more coherent than when last she’d wowed him with her talents. He was proud, always.
The house had been built hundreds of years before, yet it felt new the moment he set foot in it, a box full of clothes in his arms. The emptiness of the premises helped convey the marvel of possibility, the anticipation of good times ahead. Wasn’t that what newness implied? The time and material to make or endure an array of experience?
His first crush on a girl was intense. He ployed a kiss immediately and did so as soon as she invited him to. Imagination paled in comparison to flesh and blood.
On his first day of school, the teacher passed out chocolate chip cookies at snack time, his favorite. Play commenced.
Warmth was lost.
* * *
I awoke alone, a disconcerting dream lingering in the corners of my hazy mind, no images only the remnants of their dread. As a reflex I looked to your side of the bed for comfort. It was empty.
When I’d first told you that I loved you, a malign fear accompanied my words. How devastated I’d be if you could not reciprocate my deep need for you. That fear has dimmed but faintly.
I pulled aside the curtains of the nearest window enough to view the snow fluttering earthward, slow but insistent in its erasure of color and contour as it covered the landscape.
A boy trampled the wintry powder, admired his own bootprints as he went. A girl grabbed an icy handful and slung it at a frosted tree trunk. A cat from a damp doorway watched all unmoving.
As I made the bed, I wept.
* * *
I know we are only a small tremor in the eruption of life. All the screams of stars; oceans; the vast teeming, mis-shapen silhouette of existence deafens us to what we hopelessly fail to fathom.
These moments are all that we have.