The phone rang. It was raining, a cloudy November morning. I answered as I was crossing the street. I stood there, the rain pouring down. That’s how it ended. That’s how it was over. In fact, nobody was there when he died– he had died the night before. In fact, his body was in a different city by the time my family found out. He just disappeared. Nobody ever saw him again. I’d been on my way out for breakfast, so I went anyway. I had bacon, eggs and two glasses of wine. After, I bought yahrzeit candles, dug up photographs, and built an ad hoc altar on my window ledge. This is the first time I read the Gita, candles burning, on my knees, on the dark hardwood floor of my Brooklyn apartment.
Up on a cliff, I stare past my feet to the rolling, angry sea below. Far below. The frothy white caps churning against the rocks barely make a sound, and sea birds appear as small black dots, the sea is so far away. I shudder, step back—one, two, three—and turn toward the east. The sun warms my shoulders as I consider the shadow stretching before me. My shadow. I feel that familiar spider lurking beneath my ribs. Even then, it weaves frantically encasing all that I hold central to my life in despair.
I am not a traumatized person. I’m fairly stable. I’m pretty happy.
I have a problem, though. Yes, that is true.
It was a bad idea to walk through the park on a moonless night, almost morning, alone. But to walk around it would take an hour or more, and I was sure to get lost. I had no money for a taxi. And my repeated trips up and down the soggy stairs of the Trade Union Club, pushing through heaving rooms, asking everyone I knew — in a shout — if they’d seen my companion Jo, had delivered me nothing.
I stood on the footpath, weighing my few options, knowing I would walk through the park despite my reservations, pushing down the shame of being abandoned, blaming Jo for my choice even as I scripted the nonchalant telling of my bravado.