Unfinished orange juice still on the table.

Quiet pleading. I need to lay down. Any minute now.

All the tenderness in the world. Obvious discomfort.

Shifting. A gentle stroke.

Then without forewarning the clearest

non- verbal communication muted everything around us.

Time didn't stop, it changed.

Her eyes unveiled a moment of surprise, a tinge of fear,

then she held my gaze in a profound and silent dialogue

that wholly belonged to us, and only to us. And we knew.

Eyes still transfixed on mine they shifted to an endless beyond that words cannot explain. A delicate smile painted and transformed her body.

Softness and curiosity and knowing.

Then complete and utter transcendence. Beautiful. 

And I just watched. Knowing. Still.

 

Pale cloudy blues. Her eyes closed, I yelled for my mom,

fell to my knees, and wept. My unspoken task was done.

This left a deep imprint, imperceptible at the time.  

My light was so dim. In part absorbed by the darkness that swallowed our city, but mostly by my incessant need to escape it and mostly myself. Risking my life on every attempt so I could breathe at least for a moment, so I could forget.

vicious cycle that left me a shell.

 

I carried on like this for an extra 173 days, one thousand three hundred and twenty-two deaths, of which we know.

Then I left.

I was safe, but still in disconnect,

still empty.

However, I could roll down my windows.

The things we take for granted. 

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