Months To Years Winter 2019 Months To Years Winter 2019 - Page 19

magination, he wore doctor’s a white uniform, The house like is too large for one person. I despised instructions a woman of ambition, their own lives laden to said, keep the their warnings. Think of the future, they with truth frenetic activity. Action is good! their panic an old-fashioned and I come shook my head. declares, yet what they cannot know, cannot a secret, especially orderly. He’d is that inside I’m being carved out at an from my see, father in, assess the From upstairs, the steady screech of packing incredible rate. situation, tape and being act. unrolled, the biting zrripp as it is and me. “ “ torn free. Something heavy drops and the house I am widow! I want to bellow, holding the word trembles. A moment of stillness, then a man up as a shield. Widow, though it doesn’t entirely begins singing in Spanish with a voice open and fit: we were two women, lovers but not married careless and free. A terrible, beautiful joy. and yet.... Widow: inhabiter of grief’s shadow, of down the stairs. Her It’s not just dense the black hair is twirled into a low knot, noise of breathing and she wears, stretched that bothers me. over her ample body, My chest the burns. same black shirt My lungs, that I guess. each of the crew Because I wears. am She out watches me from the doorway, arms f shape. Or because clutching flattened boxes, the cancer is everywhere about her progressing? a sense of urgency, her “ gaze moving from me, to the clothes, back to me. I sit on the floor, legs folded, and stare back. She bends cardboard into a box, slaps a strip of tape over its seam, steps through the doorway, and stretches out a hand reaching for Lynda’s black lament. Widow, I want to declare. Empty. The woman wavers before Lynda and I began our housing search a year before the fatal diagnosis. When she entered treatment, we continued looking, believing she was going to get better, purchasing this home together as proof, a home large enough for both our grand pianos, a music studio for her, a writing room for me. “ “ A Latina woman comes “ me, confused; she has been commanded to pack. She tries again, assembling now a wardrobe box taller than she, a container with a metal bar allowing clothes to be hung and later removed wrinkle-free, ready to wear, and I shake my head, another no, for Lynda’s clothes—when I pack them later that evening after everyone is gone and darkness has calmed, after I’ve first slipped into her favorite sweats and coffee-stained moccasins, buttoned on the flannel shirt she composed in mornings still smelling faintly of cigarillo, knowing these will be the items I keep—her clothes, which will things and I say NO. These garments once eventually be six cumbersome boxes full, will not touched her skin, some still bear her scent. They come back. I’m lucky: are I have what is left. I say NO, I will do it, though People about plenty of people it has been to three months and I haven’t yet like to talk In several weeks, when the rebuild is underway, cancer survivors having call. But after each and I don’t know how, or if I can. Lately when I’ll know with calm certainty that Lynda members I say a new lease instigated on life, this a flood, forced this cleanse. An death, the family person I call, ask what I’m doing, Nothing much, when I’m honest. But you must act both ferocious and loving. Necessary, she new or renewed sense wanted most to talk do something! they insist, their voices elevating would have thought, to free me to live again. of purpose, For a desire to was the to one who a worried squeal, for they once knew me as although walls and floors needed replacing, to drink up the world was no longer at the 19 as they relish every other end of the line. “