I didn’t do anything yesterday.
After crawling out of bed, I alternated between sitting in the recliner and lying on the couch, surfing the web and staring at the television. I hugged my daughter. I ate dinner. I smoked.
I watched the clock, and remembered.
I remembered the room. I remembered the people. I remembered leaving the hospital and sitting in the car, frozen in time and space between the man I had been when I arrived and the man I’d be once I left. I considered the mistakes I made in the aftermath and wondered how things might have turned out if I was as smart as I pretend to be.
And I watched the clock. Eventually 10:39 PM came.
I marked the occasion in silence. The minute seemed to last forever, a lifetime compressed into sixty seconds. The irony didn’t escape my notice.
I remember, even if I remember alone. My arms were the only ones to cradle him. My lips were the only ones to kiss him. Is it any wonder then that I mourn in solitude? I used to call her every year. I don’t call anymore. We didn’t talk about it then, when the discussion might have salvaged what remained in his wake. Why talk about it now?
I didn’t say anything, and no one said anything to me. If I cried, it was a tear or two that went unnoticed. The ache still claws at my heart, but the tears dried up nineteen years ago. I haven’t really cried since.
I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop.
10:40 came and then 10:41. Tonight –just like then- the clock still ticked and life continued. And I thought about what could have been-
No. What should have been.
I didn’t do anything yesterday, not a damned thing I haven’t done at least once during each of the past six thousand, nine hundred and thirty-five days.
But Then Again, You’ll Have This . . .