Already I am lonely, even though she is not yet gone. It is the loneliness of the future and oddly, of the now.
There are days on which I imagine the undisturbed dust in my heat-turned-down house that remains far away. There are Mondays, Tuesdays, and other named days on which I know that water does not ease its way through cold pipes, that windows do not welcome Winter air. But soon enough I will return and my heat-turned-down house will talk to me again. Every day it will mutter, inviting me to madness, but I will not go.
There are days that will whisper, because houses cannot.
If only. What about. I wonder. Did I really? Why didn’t she tell us?
Days that are callous and wind-blown cold.
Your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please hang up and try again. But I will not. Her phone will not be there.
Days that will weep.
There is no more light touch, a warm hand on wool. That embrace is now banished to images dissolving, fraying. There is no need of that hairbrush – that particular one – to tame unruly strands, now silver with childbirth, with death, laughter, and tears. There is no spoonful of applesauce – warmed just a little – fed gently now by the child to the mother. Even for just one more sharp word, the day will weep.
There are days.
But there are days that will laugh.
Do you remember the time? Did you see? What about?
And there are days on which my heat-turned-down house will chase me from within its mumbling walls, its voice suddenly certain:
Go! Her spirit is not here. We few walls could never contain such a marvellous thing. Taste the wide sky. Drink from the quick, the beating heart of the still iron stream. Sing in the night with a chorus of trees. Dance. Allow Earth’s breath now wild from the west to fill what she left bare. We few walls could never contain such a marvellous thing. Go.
And I will go.
But I will return to my heat-turned-down house. This is the way that things will be. My walk through the valley will not end – not today, not tomorrow. It will not even be done when she is soon gone. On each named day, in every numbered year, there will be more steps, more stones, more syllables unsaid.
Already I am lonely.
Already I can hear the whispers in my heat-turned-down house.