"Because death is just so full, and man so small." -M&S

January 9th, 2011. Three months to the day that your co-worker's car spun out of control--tossing you out rather than trapping you inside--and I dream of you for the first time. Finally.

But the dream doesn't alleviate my fearful sorrow with these images of you I'm given--because where are you now, if not in some goddamn lucky afterlife? No ... Instead, they delineate and depict the monumental sadness I feel constantly with this living loss of you--the only thing we have left to hold onto. And even bloom fresher streaks of sorrow with the inadequacy of their pictures: You. Older than you should be. And yet at 7, wearing that gray dress you used to have and your cut short blonde hair, speaking animatedly and happily to someone outside of the frame of my mind's eye. Probably Jacob, I think. And then me, as I was--thick bangs past my brows, with long straight hair and an ugly flowery dress with a mismatched, open scruffy shirt over. Younger than I should be. Walking into the room looking always unkempt and insecure. Uncomfortable in my skin; unblessed with your grace. How you held out your hand to me without even looking my way, once I'd settled into the corner alone. How grateful I felt! Crawling toward you, toward your outreached hand, and then laying my head on your knee. My present self in the doorway, watching you place that hand on my younger self's shoulder. Watching my own young face smile; her eyes close, seeming finally at ease. All the time sobbing underneath that door frame, knowing what I know.

I texted you tonight: "Home safely. :) Love you all! Thanks for a lovely weekend." Automatically, in a bulk message to our family, letting them know I made it back alive because this is necessary now. I clicked your name in my phone with everyone else's: "Beautiful!" Up at the very top on purpose, as it's always been.

And I got a response back immediately that stilled my heart--making my stomach flip with excitement that even then knew itself to be doomed; to surely melt into disappointment: "Whoz thiz"?

Breath stopped; tears immediate; slight nausea soon to follow. I steeled my shaking hands and responded, knowing nothing had changed--impossible to forget or pretend: "Sorry, this used to be my sister's number. I didn't realize it was re-activated."

Because I lie. It wasn't an accidental text at all. I very deliberately include you in these stupid little family updates. Every time. Even before the phone company disconnected your number, cutting off what wasn't your voice anyway, since you never recorded your own messages. And then after, too, just because. On the principle of the matter. Because I love you and want you to know that I'm safe. Because you're not. If I'd had a camera on my phone I'd have still sent pictures of flowers to your disappeared phone--every morning, if I remembered--just cuz you always used to like getting them. I include you in these texts because it feels wrong not to. Until now. Now that all of a sudden, there's someone else on the other end:

"Oh its ok". That being it. It. Like nothing. 'Course it isn't.

-L (1/31/11)

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