Coffee with your mother at the table. She smiles, I smile, but we are speaking through a fog. Your father is behind us, adjusting the paintings on the wall carefully. I see lines that jump from one painting to the next, the thread of an untold story, and there and then I understand so much. What unfolds, for a moment, is beautiful. A ramshackle home made of twigs, buttons and shoelace. Crystal clarity. I smile, she smiles, he smiles.
Sunshine, and the feelings of hope that come with spring. The ramshackle park bench where we sat. Your friends engaged in a polite conversation, but the words that fall from their lips don’t have any meaning. I listen attentively, making effort to find familiar syllables. Trying hard to fit in, I bite into the cake, but it turns to oil in my mouth. I gag there are the table, while the faces and voices around me spin. Nobody notices, at least not for now.
Frantic phonetics. The train. Swishing lights back and forth, flickering over my eyes. The lights so bright that I have to look away. Tears. Not mine. Outside is dark, and when I look through the window I see myself and the empty seat next to me. I lock eyes with my reflection, searching my face for meaning. If I close my eyes it still feels like you’re there. The train passes another flickering town, judders to a stop, and I file out, dazed.
Bitter broth, a sweet sickly stillness in the air above the bed where we had laid some night, under a different moon, in another time. Static sounds in the air, the hum of a fan, shadows cast from blue lights. The trees, the trees that bend and twist under the moon, the trees that go on forever. A hand reaches out, like a fever dream, the words clinging to my lips, I turn to you, resting my weary head against your chest. Your ribcage extends out as you sigh, and when I look you are gone.