I sit staring out into the yard. I’m waiting. Waiting for something to happen. It’s a thing that will never happen again. A puzzle piece slips from between my fingers snapping me back to the room. I realize I’ve been listening. Listening for his key in the door.
I think, “You have 9 days to come home before the year ends, no questions asked, no hard feelings.Just please, come home.” 9 days and I will love you harder this time, I will hold you here with me forever. When it comes time to leave, we’ll go together, hand in hand, the same way we walked through life. You won’t be alone. At the end? You won’t be alone again.
My ears wade through the silence, evaluating it. My mind is mapping the room, searching. My heart is thudding with an insatiable expectation that has been there for 356 days. 356 days of missing sounds, missing disruptions in air currents, missing the detection of a presence that has been there for 20 years.
Fact: You’re missing. You cannot be returned. The dead do not return.
Facts are quickly discredited in favor of hope. Hopeless hoping. Hoping against all that is known of this universe. Hope for things that cannot be. Hope for the sound of your key in the front door. Hope for your form moving through the fog in the distance. Hope for the sound of your voice calling, “Hey, I’m home.”
Would you be sorry? If you walked through that door again, would you be sorry for doing what you did? Would you apologize for this unimaginable pain in my heart? Would you apologize for tearing a wound through my very soul?
I bleed. Every day. No one sees. No one can. But I feel it.
It pours from me. Leaks from my eyes. Sprays, invisible, like a fierce geyser from my mouth. It rises from the very pit of my being and it pours in a painful soul crushing surge outward, spilling into my reality. Disrupting my balance. Threatening my sanity.
I hold onto hope. It is a vain endeavor and still my mind grasps it like a life preserver. It lives in the back of my brain, a constant companion denying fact, shielding me in a protective layer of ignorance. Denial. A fear of feeling the full impact of truth.
My ears pierce through the thickness of the surrounding silence. They lock onto the handle at the front door. My mind measures the distance. My heart leaps in anticipation. The silence wins out. Again. There will be no key. No return. No warmth. No joy.
And time keeps ticking ever downward. For hope, it is running out. 9 days. There are 9 days before reality crashes into my existence. Again. Like a knife, slicing me from chin to abdomen, splaying all my reality over the ground for all to see. Silence.
You have 9 days to tell me it was all a mistake. You have 9 days to stop this play. I was never a willing actor in this theater.
You have 9 days to come home to me. No questions. All forgiven. Alter this reality.
9 days before silence and shadow become my constant and only companions.