He woke up to the news that she had jumped from her flat on the seventh floor in a central location of their nation. She was gone. What else was gone was an emotion — there was a notable lack of anguish surging from him; no tears and no externalization of the breaking of his heart. It was all just a blank.
Her face was blank. “What were you doing”, he asked. “for it to be so bad. This isn’t even nearly what I’d expect of you. Especially at this stage.” She had sat there, saying nothing. “I mean what else do you have to say”, he said, filling up the silence when she couldn’t. “You need to take a long think and re-configure; you need to figure this out.” She said “okay”. He nodded, moved closer, so she could see the silver on around his wrist. As he continued talking, her eyes trailed to the bracelet. She let out a sigh when it ended. He left, but not without holding her back.
“You’ve got time to change your Facebook status to sad: I wish I could find. But you’ve got to find it within yourself — you’ve got to channel your energy and find it within yourself and understand what is wrong with what you’re doing wrong. You’ve got to take the time it takes to make that status to find out what exactly you need to do next. Don’t just post useless, half-finished statuses.” When she didn’t say anything, he looked at what her shoulders said — slumped over, collar wrinkled — and left.
“Uh-huh.” He ended the call because she was standing outside, unannounced. There were papers in her hands. He surged forward and grabbed them off of her. “Hey, what’re these for? How was your day?” They’re synonymous to both of them. She reached for the papers and gave him a long, hard look. “It’s been okay. I’ll be going in now.” She turned to leave but he held her back. “Hey”, the chair next to them moved; they collapsed into chairs like stick figures. “I asked you a question.”
Her Facebook status hadn’t changed. He reached for his phone. There were two messages from her. “I won’t read it”, he texted back. “It can wait until tomorrow.” She hadn’t asked him to read it today, or even tomorrow, or even this week. It just had to be within the moment. She muted their chat. She went back to sleep, and wished for an iron to run its hot metal surface over her, and straighten out the wrinkles in their time.
The last month was okay. She told him that she dreamt — no, had a nightmare — of something strange happening. He couldn’t remember. It was whatever. She was okay, and smiling, and —
— nowhere in sight. The bandages had gone, given away to clear skin, but she’d cleared away from him. So how would she know that he didn’t know, that he wouldn’t have known.
The last month was okay. She told him that she had had a nightmare and the way she said it was as if she didn’t want it to be addressed, but maybe she did, but couldn’t find the right time to deliver the message to the right address.
“You’re right here”, he began, “so what do they mean that you’re gone.” It wasn’t a question; it was a statement. He wanted answers. She smiled, all happy, right in front of him. “Who said I was gone?”
He watched her sit down in front of him. He followed suit. “I feel like I deserve the answers, not you.”
“You said I was gone. You were the one who said I was gone.”
“No, the bloody head said you were gone. That you’d bloody jumped off; that you bloody died.” There it was. The breaking. He watched her watch him cry. It was a raw moment, ripe with feeling. Her smile didn’t fade. “It’s okay.”
“It’s okay to leave.”
She pushed it towards him. Her phone. I wish I could find home. Their fingers brushed and he moved back, his feet shuffling back, trying to find a foothold a distance away. And then she was crying. “You should’ve known — that wasn’t what I meant. I don’t mean that it’s okay to leave here. It’s not okay for you to leave right now. But it’s okay for you to leave –”
He stood up and he walked over and he turned her chair around and made it face him; he bent down and he stared right into her eyes. She was looking at him, hard and long and a million miles away. “–me. You can leave me already; your duty is done.” He slammed his hand over her knees to keep what was there, there. She felt warm, too warm to be real. She was saying something. He didn’t listen. He had not known how to listen to her.
He woke up. He ran to the chairs. He took a seat. Not too long after, she joined him. There was no laughter in her smile. She handed him papers. He took them, and then he took the weight of her gaze in and leaned forward.
“I know what you can do.”
Thank you! I really, really, really think you helped at the right time. I think that you —
She had left not long after. He hadn’t opened the message. He woke up to read it but couldn’t finish it.
He needed to take the time to complete what was within. The damage was complete, and it was organic.