on love and death

You get the news about your sister in that time of night that is so late it’s actually morning.

You have just finished having sex, have just finished brushing your teeth, have just finished donning the pajamas assigned to you. You’re some weird combination of empty and full, and right as you climb into bed you pick up the phone to check for any news, and there it is.

Your sister just passed. She is at peace.

Your sister has been dying for years, and you were told it would be this week, and so it shouldn’t come as any surprise. Even in the last 48 hours, sitting by her bed, there were many instances in which you thought a strained lungful of breath would be her last.

But even so, it shakes you.

“Finn?” you call out, uncertainly, to the out-of-town man whose house you’re occupying.

He’s in the bathroom, comes out with a toothbrush in mouth, raises an eyebrow.

Oddly, or perhaps not, you point at your phone.

“My sister just died,” you say.

It seems like there should be better words for it than this. But plain and direct is the best you’ve got.

He scurries back to the bathroom to rinse the toothpaste and return to you, but in your strange haste you’re halfway to the door, his car keys in your hand.

“May I borrow you car?” you ask, not quite sure where you’re going, only responding to a need to move.

“I’ll drive,” he offers. His hair is mussed and he looks confused, young, lovable.

You look to the door, then back to him, then to the door again. Your body wants so badly to bolt, but there seems some wisdom in your not being behind the wheel of a car.

Objective for a moment, you suddenly recognize that this is such an intimate moment to share.

“Oh my gosh,” you say, uncomfortably considering this from his perspective. What a woman you are. “I’m so sorry,” you say.

“No,” he responds. He reaches out to hug you but you don’t think you can bear to be touched.

He instead sits down on the floor and puts on his shoes.

You drive to a large lake. There is a full moon. It’s a beautiful night.

There is something strange in the air. It was there earlier, too, when you took a walk. These opposing gusts of warm and cool air coming down from the hills to mingle with each other. It’s incredible, it’s gorgeous, it’s soothing.

And also? Your sister is now dead.

But recently dead. Like hovering dead, like free of a body, but lingering in time and space right above you. You feel her, you’re certain of it, and you wonder what she’s thinking, and you’re trying to form the right message to send her, and think good thoughts, but the truth of it is, for the last few days of her life, and a lot of the years before that, you were having horrible thoughts about this person.

“I was having horrible thoughts about her,” you confess, out loud.

“No judgement,” he says. Lights a cigarette.

You look at him, crinkle your nose. Take it.

You think maybe the point is that you loved her anyway.

And were horrible at it.


2 thoughts on “on love and death

  1. So sorry to hear this. What a thing to have to process – in a life already overfull of processing. I still think of you often and hope you and Django are well.

    Sending love,

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