“Have you ever lost someone who took so much of your soul with them, that you couldn’t remember how to breathe or take your next step?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“How did you deal with it?  How did you move on?”

“I haven’t,” he said.  I leaned slightly away from him to look at his face, but it was vacant of the anguish I expected from such a confession.  Alex stiffened.  “David’s awake.”

I wasn’t ready for him to leave.  I wanted to be selfish and hold on to the impossible, fearful that I would never have another moment like that with him again.

“Wai…”  But he had slipped away, leaving a sting of disappointment from yet another vanishing.

The office door creaked as it opened, David leaning on the knob as he peered in.  His eyes were bloodshot and heavy with drink, and his hair was mussed from the substantial growth since his return.  With the exception of high school, I had never seen him with anything other than a high-and-tight.  Any baby like features that once softened his face had since been replaced by defined fissures from stress and depression and anxiety.

His tired eyes quickly scanned the room.  “I thought I heard you talking to someone,” he said.

“Just to myself,” I lied.

“Hmm,” he muttered, turning a corner of his mouth up in contemplation.  “Dad did that too.”

“Yeah, I know,” I said, looking down at my feet.

“I’m hittin’ the rack.  I don’t want you up too late either, got it?  And FYI, Mr. Hamlin is sending the movers to pack up your room tomorrow, so grab what you’ll need for the next few weeks.”

“Okay.”

“Gnite.  Love you,” David said, warily scanning the room one last time.

“Love you too.”

The first round of movers coming, signaled the nearing of my departure.  I hadn’t kept any real measure of time since I left Camden.  The grandfather clock stopped working sometime before David and I came home, the calendar pages hadn’t been turned since before we all left, and I wasn’t entirely sure where my phone was.  The only event that marked any passage at all was the fireworks show the base put on weeks ago.  David wore headphones until the last rocket took to the sky.  The slightest noise resembling a bomb or gunfire sent him through the roof.  I even had to disconnect the dryer buzzer before David brought the place down.

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