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I was dreaming about the night we’d spent in you Volvo, the old

station wagon you had bought from your parents. We’d pulled

over to the side of the road having exhausted ourselves with

twenty-four hours of straight driving on our way to the first

apartment we’d share together in Toronto. You had unrolled the

sleeping bags in the back, and as we lay curled together, my

fingers found their way between your legs. I touched you, kissed

you, and tasted you until we came. I cried. I’d never felt this way

before. I whispered into your ear that I loved you and we fell

asleep like that, naked and entwined.

In the morning, a fierce thudding on our window woke us. A

police officer loomed above us, the blaring sun causing him to

be nothing more than a black silhouette in aviator glasses. You

sat up, the blanket sliding down your remarkable body revealing

your small, milky white breasts. You looked exquisite. You

looked perfect. You were angelic.

Suddenly you were gone, the dream was gone. My eyes opened

and I was brought back to cold reality. I lay in the bed we had

shared, in the apartment that had been ours. Everything about

this place screams of you, yet you are the one thing this place is

without.

The thumping of the police officer’s fist against the window of

your car followed me as I left our world and returned to this one.

Someone was at our door. I grimaced at the prospect of leaving

you behind in that station wagon to face the intruder at the door.

I climbed out of our bed and wrapped my body in your robe. I wear your things now that you are gone. I imagine that they still

smell of you.

I opened the door and he was there, the police officer from our

dream. I smiled dumbly and said “You’re not wearing aviator

glasses.”

“Ma’am, I’m here to escort you off the premises.” He slipped a

paper into my hand, a notice of eviction. I looked at it as tears

blurred my eyes.

“I’ll put the coffee on,” I said to our dream police officer as I

retreated back into our apartment.

He took my arm and stopped me, his eyes registering confusion.

I knew then that he was not our dream officer. He’d never met

you. He didn’t understand the enormity of what he was doing,

what I was losing, what I had already lost. He didn’t know what

he’d come to take from me. He wanted the last remnant of you.

“I can’t leave,” I announced. I couldn’t leave that place. That

was the last place on Earth where you were still alive. “Please.

You don’t understand. I can’t leave her. I’ve got nothing else left.” The police officer didn’t care. He’d never met you. He had

no idea what you were and where you’d gone.

I called your brother from the pay phone outside our apartment.

I’d not talked to him at all in the year since the funeral but there

wasn’t anyone else to call. I was alone in this city since you’d

left me. So, I called Tom. He answered on the third ring.

“I failed her,” I bawled into the phone before he had a chance to

say anything.

“Sorry, what? Who-” he cleared his throat. We’d been great

friends in that other life, the life that I’d spent with you. “Is this-”

he stopped again. “Emily? My God! Emily! How have you

been?”

“I lost the apartment Tom. I have nowhere to go. I don’t know

what to do. I had no-one else to call. I haven’t really kept in

touch with anyone since – well, you know.” I couldn’t bring

myself to say it.

“Emily, I called you. I tried to be there. We could have helped

each other. It didn’t have to be so hard. Now you’re calling me-

” he sighed. I could almost see him on the other end of the line

shaking his head. “Now you’re calling me because you need

something from me? This isn’t fair. You should have let me be

there for you. You should have been there for me!”

I couldn’t say anything. He was right. I’d left him alone to deal

with the loss of you. I ignored his pain so I could focus on my

own.

“Where are you?” He asked after a long uncomfortable silence.

I told him where was calling from. He promised to duck out of

the office to come and get me as soon as he could. “Tom,

thank-you.” And, I sat in your robe on the front steps of our

apartment surrounded by our things waiting for your brother to

rescue me, to take me from this place that I had shared with you.

* * *

Everything felt blurry after you’d left. Life had become shallow

and cloudy. I got the call at work on Tuesday. I went to the

hospital. I cried into your lap. I apologized to you. I stayed with

you through the night, and went to work Wednesday morning in

the same clothing I’d slept in.

Tom called me just after lunch on Wednesday. “Her heart

stopped,” he managed through sobs. “Emily, she gone. She’s

dead.”

Time stopped. My legs gave out and I feel to my knees. “No!

No, no, no!” Someone tried to help me up. I pushed them

away. I didn’t need help. This wasn’t happening. I dropped the

phone. I didn’t talk to Tom again until the funeral.

I went home that night and let Jake sleep on the bed. You never

let him do that. You couldn’t stand the dog hair all of the bed

spread and pillow cases. I couldn’t bare to sleep alone though.

After tossing and turning until two in the morning, I gave up on

sleep. I made a pot of coffee. I drank it black like you always

had. I drank from your mug, the one I had made for you for

your twenty-sixth birthday with the picture of the three of us,

you, me, and Jake, on it. I wrapped myself in your fleece blanket

and curled up on our couch with the journal you’d kept of our

trip to Montana.

I don’t know when sleep had finally over taken me, but I woke

up with the coffee mug tipped over in my hand, the coffee

spilled on the floor. I cried while I cleaned up the mess. I cried

while I fed Jake and gave him fresh water. I cried in the shower.

As I dried my hair, I stopped crying. It felt okay. It was like you

were on vacation, like I would see you again.

I kept on this way for weeks. I would wake up in the morning

and cry through my regular morning routines. I would return

home in the evenings at peace. I thought it was going to be okay.

I thought it was getting better, and that I could carry on without

you. I was wrong.

I kept taking Jake to the dog park every Sunday. I would play

Frisbee with him the way you used to do. It was at the dog park

that it happened. I tossed the Frisbee and Jake took off after it.

A little girl sat on a bench eating an ice cream cone. Melted pink

ice cream dripped down her chin. She watched as Jake clumsily

loped after the Frisbee. She laughed. It was your laugh, that

horrible high pitched shrieking laugh of yours. I actually looked

for you. You weren’t there. I would never hear that laugh of

yours again.

I whispered your name, but you weren’t there to hear it. You

were gone, the permanence of it took hold of me and brought

me to my knees in the middle of the dog park. I cried for you. I

cried to you. I couldn’t stop crying.

The little girl came over to me. “Are you okay lady?” she asked

between licks of her ice cream cone. “Did you hurt yourself?”

I couldn’t help myself. I needed something to cling to,

something to hold onto. I wrapped my arms around the little girl

and squeezed. “She’s dead,” I whispered to the girl. “Oh my

God. She’s dead, actually dead.”

“Hey lady, let me go!” The girl began to wriggle in my arms.

“Lady stop it! Your dog Lady! It’s getting away! Let me go!

Lady!”

I didn’t hear her. I could only hear your laugh resonating in my

ears. You were gone. I knew it then. You had left me hear all

alone.

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