He’s been gone now for over four months. Time does not act the same anymore; days and weeks have taken on a different shape. Sundays are slippery and slow-moving. Their simplicity forever shattered. I try to anticipate it, brace for it. Some Sundays I fill my time, keeping one step ahead of being still enough to get shot point blank by the recall. Other Sundays I’ve placed myself at the cabin, keeping myself surrounded by his world and his handiwork. Today it’s got me and I can’t move very well through it. I keep staring out the window where the world spins on in ways I envy by can't grab hold of.
I go over and over the details of him. The details that day-to-day were not taken account of but were there all the same. The way the hair on his arms laid down, the way a glass fit in his hands, the way he tied knots in fishing lines and ropes. The imprint his feet made in his shoes, evidence he was there. I try to remember how he opened his mail and how he read the morning paper. I try to remember the smell of his neck when we hugged, and the feel of the air conditioning on his shirt collars. And the way his hand felt when he held mine. It's these details of him that I want to gather into a pile like shavings and hold in my hands. I want to hide the pile away like a secret beneath a loose board in the floor. And each day see the light shining through the cracks, and know the secret is there and safe.
But he is not a hidden secret. He is everywhere around me. He is my heart. He is the summer heat. He is the mourning dove. He is the whir of the fan, the pulse of the breeze. The flesh of watermelon, the scent of a strawberry. He is the click of the lamp switch, the tightened screw on the hinge, the key in the lock. He is the smell of good coffee in the morning. He is the smile of the little boy I winked at in the store yesterday. He is the reason behind that wink. That alone is evidence.
I know he would tell me, don’t be sad. He couldn’t stand to see me sad, couldn’t stand when he was unable to fix or understand whatever it was that was upsetting me. And when he couldn’t fix it, he’d tell me, be brave. Tell me or ask me, I’m not sure. It was easy to be brave for him. He was there to be proud of me. But asking it of myself now is sometimes impossible, like someone asking me to act out the shape of a color.
Whether reasonable or not, I used to think that the dead could see us. For instance, I've often found comfort in, and even guidance from, my belief that my Grandmothers watched over me. Does my father now see me? And if so, does he repeat to me, Do not be sad, Alison. Be brave.