Sunday, September 8, 2013

a mercy

It always happens over dishes, this explaining of ourselves to each other. I pumped soap onto the wet sponge and lathered it over the pot as you started, as you told me you didn't know how to start. You explained your piece as best you could while I focused on the dishes, on piling them up carefully on the drying rack so that they wouldn't fall. I squeezed the sponge dry, turned off the water, and turned to stand against the counter. I knew I needed to respond but wasn't sure how I would do it without crying the tears that have been coming so easily, like a deep well with no bottom. We both acknowledged we didn't want things to change, and we both agreed that they probably would, maybe they already had. Just the day before I'd been lying on my bed looking at the bookcase you helped me move into my room when the thought, "what will I do without her" came to my mind, and with it new tears. I hadn't really let myself think about it that way until I remembered the bookcase, how heavy and big it was. It had weighed on my mind for days, how to get it into the house from the garage where I'd put it together. It was a job for more than one person.

We talked for fifteen, maybe twenty minutes, each of us saying basically the same thing over and over. You let me feel my pain, which to some might have seemed merciless, but was a mercy to me. You didn't try to dry my tears or cry them with me, but you let them flow, maybe hoping with me that the well will dry up someday soon. Later, I took out the cake you brought home for me the night before, and when I asked if you wanted to share it, you said no. You brought it home for me, not for us. So I ate it alone.

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