Aftershocks of Grief
I could hear his heart breaking. I believe we all heard it. It sounded like shattering, splintering glass. It smashed like sound does, leaving us all mute. Leaving us all breathless. I collected myself in a tiny space of thought, struggling hard against the gravitational pull of that dark and strange world known as sadness. His dead eyes gave me the shivers. And the mark of an angry hand on his face glared at me. Outside, relentless sheets of rain slid down from the heavens. He turned and walked away. He walked with a certain hopelessness that curled his shoulders forward and cast his gaze to the ground beneath his feet. The air thrummed with the aftershocks of grief ~ his ~ even as he walked away.
He has a beautiful soul, I can see it, I can feel it. Ah, but for such beauty, the noise of the world can become too much.
“What is the shelf life of truth?” He asks me.
“Can truth be borrowed across time without perishing?” I ask in return.
“What is the colour of waiting?”
“I don’t know.”
“I can’t hate you as much as I’d like to, you know. In fact, I can’t hate you at all.”
He gave a blank stare, then blinked. He said nothing.
“I want to know why you did what you did. I want to understand.”
Still, he said nothing.
“I forgive you, you know. And I just wanted you to know that.”
We stood there, toe to toe, on the stoop in front of my apartment building, for infinity wrapped in a single moment. Silent. Furtive gazes. I never, ever thought of him as handsome or beautiful. How could I? How could I associate beauty with something that felt so ugly? But now, but now … I saw—what did I see when I looked at him? His grey eyes, the colour of melted steel, and laden with melancholy, and his finely chiseled facial features, begging to lose themselves in honesty. A tragic kind of beauty. Delicate. Gauzy. Ghostly and gossamer.
Did the Devil make the world while God slept? He must have. Otherwise how else do I explain the reason why I feel pity and compassion for that man, that terrible-yet-no-so-terrible-and-maybe-beautiful-man, who did those things to me so many years ago? Does compassion know no bounds?
I find myself outside. At dawn. Alone, completely alone. Standing in the middle of the street, beneath some trolley bus cables. I close my eyes. I look up, hoping to see the answer to my question carved into the sky. When I open my eyes, I see only empty cubes of space torn out of a painted sky. Streaks of Yellow ochre, Rose Madder and Blue Violet fade as a wash of light ~ the sun’s rise ~ falls across the sky, bringing daylight with it.
A drop of blood hits the snow white tile between my feet with a light thwacking sound, then blossoms. I look down. All time and motion freeze. I scream. I scream until my throat burns and then I scream some more. I scream until I collapse like a rag doll into a puddle on the cold floor.