Gone, and trying to escape the sadness never ends well, my friend suggests kindly.
Meanwhile, I go to school, my house, the security guard at the gate tries to teach me something in Spanish every time I pass. The mornings are like the vapours cooling in a cauldron, fresh and hazy. I realise I need to decide to be good company for my teacher. She’s a good teacher, The language is starting to take shape in my head, I sit in a cafe and eat a gordita frijole con queso.
I meet my young man and have chicken and vegetable soup in his house with his brother and sister, at the dining table covered with lace and plastic. The soup pot has a chicken claw floating in it, but ok, I’ve decided not to be too fussy here so say I’ll just have the vegetables and rice, thanks. We walk to the plaza. Apparently it’s typical here to express big romantic plans and go along with them, but I can’t help laughing and then feel guilty.
I practice yoga. My friend and I start running in the night around an athletics track. The sky is clear and black and there are few stars. I run more slowly than I’d walk, and decide it doesn’t matter anything in my head. My mother’s friend used to talk constantly about her son’s learning difficulties and I would feel sorry for her that he was such trouble, but one day I realised that she loved him not a bit less than she loved her other children. In the video she said she knew us completely.
I meet a man sunning himself on a water hydrant, saying thanks for this day, he tells me. He says the world needs people to love one another to counteract it’s violence. Last year his niece was killed in a car accident. A few weeks ago he met a taxi driver who killed himself and saw his mothers and aunts saying that it wasn’t his time and to go back, so he came back to life. My young man writes to me in Spanish, he knows exactly how I feel, if there is a reason to be sad there are thousands more to be happy.
On Skype I see a window to people, my family, grieving without reservation. I think that they’ve witnessed everything and are carried forward on that train, and I don’t understand anything about what has happened. They say they’ve been talking and talking and talking, and I suppose crying and talking and crying.
They’ve described how loving my father was at the end. A candle they are leaving to burn in the room. The bed made-up. How they all stood out on the nature strip to wave goodbye as the hearse drove away, as she would have done to say goodbye to anyone leaving. And then I guess they hugged one another and turned around and went together into the house, and she wasn’t there anymore and never would be.
(There is a light that never goes out is a beautiful song by The Smiths.)