There is nothing that can be said. There is no consolation. There is no comfort. There is no winner. There is no looser. There is no solace. There is no joy. There is no relief.
Nothing is broken. Yet everyone is in disrepair.
All the: “I’m sorry(s).” All the hugs. All the thoughts. All the prayers. All the love. All the condolences. All the sympathies. All the pity. All the support. All the best wishes.
None of it returns the dignity.
We’ve become: those people. The talk of the town. The house surrounded in a miasma of scandal. Just there down the road—that’s the house. The one with the curtains closed. The one with the baritone dog, whose bark ricochets down alleys, echoes between homes and bounces down streets. The one with the bleeding hearts up front. The green grass. The sulking grey cat. If you can, peek around back. Do you see the garage? That’s where it happened.
They scuttle in the shadows; much like mice and rats eager to avoid the cat’s attention let alone its ire. Their voices hushed scurry in hither. They speculate with conjecture. Swap stories, news, fragments and gossip like magpies in trade. They badger. They fish. They sneak. They pursue. When the topic of their conversation approaches they skulk back. Yet there is no shame in their cowardice. Once its past they caw and cluck. They squirrel with delight.
Their curiosity. Our torture.
Robins greet the dawn. In the blue hour they whistle with melody.
All the while, we wake to an uncertain future.
Red splatters with drops of anger in seething heat, to the rhythm of a heart that beats.
Green churns with sickness, rising from a stomach which is vacant and empty.
Blue is the face now breathless and gasping, with fevered hands grasping.
Pink flushes and burns a face now foreign with embarrassment.
Purple is the end, unnatural and regal with stoic calm.
White rings within tin ears tone deaf and dumb.
Grey is the day a somber witness.
Black absorbs and absolves, until night when shadows dance. Swinging and hanging, taunting all the same.
But what of yellow? That garish colour: extroverted and blare. It beams with false hope. It glows with deceitful warmth. It shines in its selfishness. It gossips and giggles. Each message passed on platted in gold. Tarnished by fools and in falsehoods. Slander is their tongue. May it fall out of their mouths'.
Where’s the boundaries? Where’s the borders? Where’s the end? When was the beginning? Or are the two interchangeable now.
Despite being coiled and curled we are poked, prodded, pricked. In this cobra retreat of reticence we request privacy. Yet the mongooses ever quick snip and snap. There can be no regality. No peace. You saw to that.
Knocks on the door.
Here’s a sorry. Here’s a hug. Here’s all the love.
Each one thunders’ then rains down like clumsy punches. They pelt and batter. Each time leaving another bruise.
Behind glass. Behind bars. Come one, come all. Come gawk. Come gaze. Come gape. Come stare. See the spectacle. Speculate with flare.
Normalcy: so commonplace and ubiquitous in shades of beige and brown. Suddenly the world has run out. Who knew it was such a finite resource. The door revolves. Strange feet step with caution. Shadows splay across walls and floors. Silhouettes of basic shape and form. Food is left behind, which will soon become rotten.
Strong is your Wife, a Mother of two—the only title to remain. She informed them. Explained as best as possible the situation. Only she knows the words she stated to you.
Ashamed is your Son, who seeks privacy from your shadow.
Pained is your Daughter, whose sadness and sense of guilt is testament to all.
Lost is your Dog, attempting to understand your absence.
Annoyed is your Cat, with all the fuss.
You broke the cardinal rule. You’ve called attention to yourself. And in return we are infected and painted by association. There has been no preparation. What are we to say? After all the truth is overrated. Patricia Highsmith said it best:
“Honesty, for me, is usually the worst policy imaginable.”
There is no inclination of apprehension. All inhibitions have been thrown out the window. Reason has flown the coop. What remains is a cuckoo, chiming in clockwork precision on the hour every hour.
We can’t slam the door. We can’t clam up. You’ve made this an impossible affair. A torrent of messages has breached the flood gates. Fists pound on doors. Phones scream in a frantic frenzy. Everything has taken a new dimension. Yet everything remains much the same. The taps run. The grass grows. The unyielding sun pulses. Spring has burst forth in an array. Green is the grass and leaves. Blue is the sky forsaken and consuming. Purple, orange, white and yellow are the flowers in their respective vases. Black are the flies buzzing about. Scuttling are the spiders seeking solitude. Their webs silver and dust ridden. Some are intricate. Others scattered.
The sink has dishes ready to be washed. The floors are a mess—such are the consequences of animals. The lilacs have bloomed. There was once comfort. Now replaced with the sickening sweet. Ripeness reminiscent of rot. The air is heavy with this ponderous poignant and pungent perfume. Spring is announced. Unabashed it grows, it greens, it buds and blossoms. It unfurls itself with the greatest intention to rejuvenate. The world is alive again. Beneath its green leaves and in its shortening shadows, we too must move forward.
These are unfamiliar woods. They are ashen. Dusks shawl is draped overhead. Violet and dim with an asphyxiating pinch. A few grey clouds remain in the sky. Swollen and smothered. The trees are gnarled, knotted, and twisted. Their branches point in all directions. A thicket riddled with accusations. Their bark black and silent. The floor riddled with scattered autumnal treasures. Paper leaves falling apart, frayed among the edges, crumbling and crunching underfoot. Dolls eyes don’t grow here. Still something is watching. Through the branches we peer. Yet in every nook and cranny, dusk light, violet, black and the faint image of browned leaves stared back. We are guests here. Unwelcome and unwanted. The sense is reciprocated. Mutual on all grounds. Above the sky is framed in unforgiving wooden limbs. Twigs wag without assistance, chiding us all the same. It’s just the three of us. Why would you be here? You’re the reason we are here. You’ve transplanted us here. Willingly or not. We’ll survive. We’ll surface. We’ll pull through. What choice do we have? After all, you’ve left us none. Here’s hoping you’re happy with yourself. But you’re not. In the end there’s regret. The late epiphany caught the evening train, which is always delayed. It is then you realized the solemn truth about unhappiness; sometimes what one thinks is unhappiness was really happiness all along.
How then does one take the news? In this case standing up; just before dinner. Soup warmed ready for eating. Then the phone ringing with immediate urgency. The news is relayed the best it can be. From there it’s a mad dash. White noise ringing in the ears. A face now foreign pink with embarrassment. A stomach churning despite being empty. Eyes blinking and blinded by an indifferent grey day. Still the heart beats, though red with anger. Ice flows through blue cold veins. A mind muddled with violet rays.
What of the one who found you? A pillar of strength. Never weakened by time or age. Untouched by the curiosity. The anger subsided, and beneath it, lies the serene and understanding. There is work to be done. Pieces to pick up. Two to hold together. Strength to overcome. To persevere. Its spring, which requires cleaning.
It’s an uncertain future; for us but not for you. Your dog will never find you, but in time accept that as the reality of life. Your cat stalks on offended paws. Who is his ally in the house now? You’ll answer to his judgements and inquisitions someday. Your son will escape your shadow. His privacy recently regained. Your daughter no longer aches for you. She’s sorry about it all, but recognizes we all have to make decisions, and suffer the consequences. Yours just rippled beyond.
So this is it. There is nothing to be said. No explanation left and none given. C'est la vie, at least in our case.