I had just died when I got the card from that woman. I don’t remember her name or the nice things she said to me. Her words seemed recited from a practiced script. She was an actress pushed out onto the stage to hold my hand repeat words, words she’d said so many times they’d lost all meaning to her.
The card was for a psychiatrist who would help me through all of this. Anger management. Addiction. Grief. Psychiatrists only deal in negativity. You would have told me to go. You would’ve said it was important. You would have encouraged me to face this all and deal with it. So I went home.
I took Sasha down to that little inlet between the jetties–the one where you thought the earth should end. You said on clear days you could take your glasses off and the ocean would melt into the sky without so much as a seam. It was your glasses and their clarity that made the scene less breathtaking, you said. I always hated how poetically you viewed the world. How you chose to rationalize flaws into serendipitous grace. It’s like you were forcing meaning onto nothing, just so you’d have something to call ‘beautiful.’ I’m surprised you didn’t request rose-colored lenses in your prescription.
Sasha found a shell in the surf and carried it up to me, but she got anxious when she realized I wasn’t the one who used to collect them. If she remembers the shells, then she remembers you were here one day and not another. It breaks my heart for really selfish reasons–I don’t want to hear her whine and fret about what to do with the shell. It’ll bother her until we get home and she can curl up at the foot of the bed like before. Then she’ll stop worrying because that’s when you’re supposed to come home. She’ll be asleep before you don’t.
And I hate to admit that I’ve started collecting the seashells. It’s for Sasha. She seems so lost without someone to appreciate them. She doesn’t understand that they’re worthless and that you’re not coming back for them. I’ve started another shelf to sate her naively hopeful compulsion–to humor her and let her pretend that you’ve come back. She loves those stupid trinkets. Little bits of mineral poetry and beautiful nothing.