From The Dead

Entry by: Octopoda

6th April 2018
From The Dead

The phone rang in the middle of the night, cleaving the silence in half, dividing her life in two: before and after.

Even as the news was being delivered to her, she knew with absolute certainty that the argument would be the focus of her grief. She would unpick their last conversation and unravel it until it was impossible to put back together. The words would be turned over in her mind until her brain became fogged with anxiety and fear. Every person she met, every condolence she received would not be able to get through the leaden wall of her obsession. Now that he was dead she would be intent on keeping that last argument alive like a penance. In the morning she would repeat it to herself as if it were a mantra and at night it would lull her to sleep. In her dreams she would tunnel into the meaning of their exchange, attempting to find a glimmer of light in the peculiar darkness they had created between them.

It was an accident. So they said. Only she know how often they had driven down that particular stretch of road and remarked on the tight bend, the wilting bunches of flowers and handwritten notes. “If you’ve imagined writing a suicide note, does that mean you’ve contemplated suicide?” he’d said on one of their first dates. She’d taken his arm and wrapped it around her shoulder, pressing her body closer to his. At that moment, closing the gap between them, she had felt is if they were the centre of something; that the wind only existed to encircle them and that the waves crashed only for them to experience the taste of saltwater on their lips. She felt the strange sensation of almost immediate nostalgia. The warmth of his body, the coarse material of his coat, their fingers entwined in a way that was almost painful: in that moment it was all too much and yet just enough.

How it began to change is hard to tell. It was a silent, gradual opening of distance between them, punctuated by deafening moments of anger and sadness. As they grew, they grew in opposing directions. Like branches on a tree they reached for their own piece of sky, until their limbs were fixed in midair, no longer able to meet. Perhaps it was inevitable, life had never been easy for either of them. If one of them had been able to anchor the other, maybe they could have survived what the world had in store for them. She had not been strong enough to be that anchor. Their love had drifted to the point of drowning.

As it was she didn’t find the note until much later. Clearing out a draw, her fingers stumbled on the soft edge of his passport. Her breath caught in her throat. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply. She braced herself for the small square image that captured nothing of the truth of who he was, only the memory of getting their photos taken and their laughter at the strange unsmiling faces that stared back at them. Opening the worn leather cover a small note fell to the carpet, as light and as startling as a butterfly wing.

“I’m sorry,” she read.