I sit here on the couch, and I don’t know what to do. I had planned to use the pool at the nearby gym, a respite from the unrelenting heat. But I forgot what I needed for swimming. There are my goggles right there, right next to me, where I set them after pulling them out of the cupboard. What else was I going to do?

I can’t remember.

Then it hits me–I will need to change my shoes. I need to be wearing flip-flops. Flip-flops for the pool, ones that I won’t mind getting all squishy and squeaky with chlorinated water. This dress is okay to wear, but something else is wrong.

I can’t remember.

Though I can’t think of anything else, I can’t actively think of you either because of the fuzziness, but you are there. You are creating the fog that has crept over my brain. I cried on my way to class earlier, listening to songs that reminded me of you. A funeral procession, a rarity on the 605 freeway, slowed the traffic, and the tears poured from my eyes at the sight of the orange stickers on the cars, the police escort, the limousine all following the car up front, the one that seemed like an omen reinforcing everything I knew about life and what comes after. My tears became weeping, then wailing. It’s not fair, I cried out, like a little child, knowing for certain that life is not fair and yet feeling the need to say it, to claim it, for myself.

I bet you didn’t know how often I cried for you, not that I would have ever told you. Now you will never know.

Can I live with that?

I don’t know.

I need something else. What is it?

I can’t remember.

Oh yes, bathing suit. I don’t know if my bathing suit fits anymore. It’s been a couple of months since I last wore it. Whatever, I don’t care if it’s a little snug, I need to be in the water. I need to feel its cool embrace, the way it makes me weightless, the power of my muscles slicing through the surface. I need to work my body to give my mind a rest.

The bathing suit can’t be all. I must be forgetting something else.

I paddle through the muck enveloping all my mental function. However did I make it through class today? I probably said a bunch of embarrassing stuff to the students. I don’t really care at this point. What was I thinking, going to class like that, the day after you died? I don’t always make the best decisions. But you know that, don’t you? You probably know more than you let on. Knew.

I need to get this all down, get it all down on paper. I reach for the laptop. The urgency smacks me in a way it hasn’t in months and months. The time is so short, and there’s so much I don’t remember. Words and images and smiles all fighting for their space in my memories and I can’t keep them all. I have to get them down before they disappear. I can’t let you disappear.

Oh yes. A towel. I’ll need a towel.


Comments

Life and What Comes After — 14 Comments

  1. Oh, Nat, you’ve written that shock/confusion/desperation feeling so well here. I felt this way after the deaths of my parents and sister. And I always cried in my car. Thank you for sharing this with us. Keep writing about it. These tender words.
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