I saw him last night for the first time. He was laughing at his own joke, unabashedly, arms crisscrossed at the back of his neck, his mouth an open window. I could see his molars, the back of his throat. I couldn't wait. I couldn't sit still with my questions. Why were you away for so long? Didn't you know we missed you? He laughed again, said time is temporary. Don't you know that, Edilay? I wish you could have heard him. He began to tell me about all the places he had been, all that he had seen since that day I waved him goodbye impatiently while he waited awkwardly in the foyer, his brand new carry on hanging from one hand. Enough with the questions yo, he said leaning in, listen, I've so much to tell you. I nod, trying to swallow the long shadow of his absence. I sit cross-legged, ready, falling back into our old pattern; him gesturing with his hands the stories that made him and I'm twelve again looking at him in awe. I called you then. I found myself at the door of his room about to tell him how stupid he was in my dream. His cologne is still on his dresser, so are his books, and now there are cobwebs too, hanging from the corners of the ceiling where we're too short to reach when we go in to clean. I miss him, have I told you that. I miss him the way the sky would the sun were it to ever disappear.
- n. a kind of melancholic trance in which you become completely absorbed in vivid sensory details—raindrops skittering down a window, tall trees leaning in the wind, clouds of cream swirling in your coffee—which leads to a dawning awareness of the haunting fragility of life, a mood whose only known cure is the vuvuzela.
I called you today. You were surprised, how are you fell from your mouth like a toddler learning how to chew with a mouthful of tiny new teeth. I didn't know how to tell you I forgive you andsay thank you in the same breath. I met someone new. I met another, but I couldn't swallow the thought of healing him the way I tried with you, and the one before you and the one who I can't forget - who I left like a glass of milk on the counter, baffled when I returned and he tasted sour. I don't leave anymore because I don't enter where I'm not invited. I find myself sitting with my hands cupped in the bed of my lap, staring down at my chipped nails. I have a beard now you tell me, and I think about the number of times you said that you didn't want to look like your father, the man who liked punching your mother in the face. You still write? I nod, looking at my nails, you haven't posted anything since febuary though. I make tea when we go quiet, the wind from my kitchen window breathing with us on the line. Writing is difficult, sometimes. It comes and it goes. I have to feel things. I can hear you nod, I can hear you raise your arm against your head, lush brown on brown. I'm not seeing anyone you say. I nod, you can hear that too. You don't want to leave, you like the sound of the wind between us so you ask me about 'the people with the receding hairlines'. I laugh, my voice the only warmth in me. I run down the people you haven't seen since, about Sarah and her miscarriage, Luul and her old man, Wes and his broken heart. After every one I try not to sigh but you hear that too, you say, why do you do this to yourself and I remember why I am alone, why the wind is comfortable between us, why my chipped nails reminds me of how we never fit to begin with, and I think I may write about this too.