David managed to buy me some time with Miles and Constance.  I needed time with David, time to deal with all of the changes before I moved, and time to try to piece myself back together.

The first few weeks were the most excruciating.  Most of my time was spent barricaded in my dad’s room, tormenting myself with the mementos of our once reasonably functional family.  Photos of us together on vacations, trinkets he’d collected over the years, and a picture box full of ticket stubs from every movie, museum, and ball game we ever attended.  At night I lay in his bed listening to his favorite classical music. I would curl up with a pillow pressed against my stomach, swathed in the sheets that were still lightly scented by his cologne.

I always thought of sadness and grief as fleeting moments that eventually just worked themselves out.  I wasn’t prepared for the most basic involuntary functions to also be the most devastating.  Each breath was punished by a stabbing pain piercing through my ribs.  Every heartbeat radiated an achy throb through every muscle and bone until the emotional misery had me searching for any other kind of pain.

Sleep, when it finally found me was of little solace.  It distracted me for a while, but didn’t offer the peace I’d hoped it would.  Nightmares intruded on my unconscious mind, most of which I forgot the instant my eyes flashed open.  Some days, I didn’t sleep at all, purposely forcing myself to stay awake, hoping to exhaust myself to the point of simply passing out into a dreamless slumber.

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