Grief and Synapses

by MB


December 27, 2017 // Los Angeles

I often wonder if by thinking in words and sentences I have enough to make myself whole.

She was suddenly aware of silence, as though silence itself could replace what it came to represent. The two clicks of opening the door - one for the key to enter the lock, the second for the lock to turn, grudingly, into itself, - shold have been met by frantic nail scratching, the sound of the dog jumping up and down on the grown, anticipating her arrival. Instead, after inserting the key in the lock, the quick click followed by its slower companion, she heard nothing.

No one came to greet her at the door, and, when it opened, she found no companion waiting at her feet, nothing there to greet her with a lick and a flamboyant if not utterly useless tail-chasing performance.

The house felt wrong too. It felt continents and oceans away from the the home she once knew as her own. Walking into this familiar but unwelcoming structure, she was struck by the impersonality of it all.

Distancing herself from the structure, she imagined she was entering a home that had been abandoned by its owner, but whose contents he had left perfectly intact, as if not to disturb the inhabitants whose lives would be forever changed by his abrupt departure. 

Each night as she sat on the couch, each aimless flick of her thumb summoning another TV show no one cared enough to watch, but cared even less to to turn off, she was aware of the cold space between her knee and hip. How the two pillows closest to the end of the couch did not sag under the weight of a living, breathing, thing, his four pound body rising and falling with each simple inhale and exhale. The couch had stopped moving. The triangle of her leg - foot against upper thigh, became cold and she covered it with a blanket, methodically though unintentionally writing over that time in history that always had been but never would be, when he crawled into her leg and kept her company.

She caught herself calling his name sometime. This was less an act of wishful thinking than it was a failure on her part, an inability to retrain her synapses not to fire a certain way. She had become so accustomed to calling his name when she entered and when she departed that she could not rid herself of the habit in one swift motion, as though she was shedding peeling unwanted skin from her body, shedding a layer of her past life along with it. Often, especially on days when she was exhausted or feeling insurmountably lonely did this bother her, her inability (or was it unwillingness) to forget his name, cursing her stubborn ness (she had never excelled in rote recitation)  for reminding her of the things she no longer had. 

The grief was heavier than the absence.