What had been treacherous the first time had become second nature, releasing the emergency brake, then rolling backwards in little bursts, braking the whole way down the long steep drive. Back then we lived on the top of a hill. I was leaving—the thing we both knew and didn’t speak of all summer. While you were at work, I built a brown skyline of boxes, sealed them with a roll of tape that made an incessant ripping sound. We were cheerful at dinner and unusually kind. At night we slept under a single sheet, our bodies a furnace if curled together.
It was July. I could feel my pupils contract when I went outside. Back then I thought only about how you wouldn’t come with me. Now I consider what it took for you to help me go. On that last day. When I stood in a wrinkled dress with aching arms. When there was only your mouth at my ear whispering to get in the truck, then wait until I was calm enough to turn the key.
Only then did we know. How it felt to have loved to the end, and then past the very end.
What did you do, left up there in the empty house? I don’t know why. I don’t know how we keep living in a world that never explains why. Written by Jennifer Grotz