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50/50 Exercise #49: Keeping a Spirit Alive

I think I was half asleep. You know how sometimes you’re lying there, and you think you’re still awake, and then all of a sudden, you feel like you’re falling? And then something brings you up to wide awake again. You think, Was that my own voice? You know that feeling?

I had a weird sensation, not exactly like that, but close, and then I sat up and looked over at her pillow. I might have even called her name before everything came rushing back at me. She’s gone, oh God, oh jeez, goddamn, she’s gone. Get a grip, Mike, get it together. How many more times will you be surprised to remember it?

What time is it? I have to be up at seven, as much as I don’t want to get out of this bed ever again. I have to sign papers at 8:30, and I don’t even know where to go.

Celia will know the address. She’s been great—nothing but business since she picked me up at the airport. She refuses to fall apart, and she won’t let me either. I’ll crash and burn without her consent.

I can’t see for shit. Where are my glasses? As soon as I put them on, all I want to see is something of Sarah’s. Anything. Rooting around in the drawer, but everything in here is mine. She didn’t live here very long, but you’d think there would be some artifact—a book, a hairbrush.

It’s only ten after five. What was I dreaming just now?

My feet are on the floor, on that ugly rug. That was her idea of a homey touch, not mine. It’s not what I’m looking for now, either.

I wash and dry my face. I look a thousand years older than when I left here last week. A thousand years, 7,000 miles, something like that. Then in a flash I’m doubled over the sink because I know she’s gone, and it might as well be the first time I’ve realized it, and, Oh no, oh God, why didn’t I see this coming? Maybe it was never in the cards for me to be happy.

What are the chances that I’ll sleep before the alarm goes off at 7:00? I’m hungry. What time is it in Italy? It doesn’t matter. No one is there to answer my call.

Where are my glasses?

Where is she now? Is she thinking about me?

Note: The assignment was to write about someone responding to a loss. See also Lost in the Ordinary and 50/50 Exercise #42.

© 2008 Edward F. Gumnick

1 comment to 50/50 Exercise #49: Keeping a Spirit Alive

  • Gayle Goddard

    Well, you certainly write tragic well. I can identify with the suffering – you describe it clearly. Tragic is not my favorite, having lived through my share of wrneching pain, don’t like be reminded well enough to relive any of it. A sign of your good writing that I just want to run from this story….

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