Your wife. Misty eyes, she looked at me and asked about souls. I was stunned.
A band of cars and trucks sped past and sadistically mutilated the already mangled city. I watched them as I navigated the network of my reasoning. I bent down, picked, and exhumed the old superstitions I have learned in childhood.
“They say we still have them for 49 days after the internment. Then they depart, forever.”
She lifted the back of her right hand and brushed her eyes. “So he is still with us?”
I looked at the longing on her face. “He is still with you.”
I’m so sorry I lied that day.
When people die they do not truly disappear. Instead, their absence grows robust and demanding day by day. We see them — in the half-eaten plates, in every homecooked meal, in the empty chairs across us at the dinner table.
They are the cold, uninhabited side of the bed all year round. They are the white noise in the radio; the static one at the back of the telly. The loss proliferates and the longing magnifies. Their absence is an excavation in our lives and it hurts everywhere.
When she asked me about souls, this was what I had in mind but I held it back. I do not have the heart to break her further that day so I told her about the superstitions I do not believe in.
“His ears will be on the swells of your breasts and with each heartbeat, he’ll be proud to know that you keep your ground and fight life back,” I assured her.
She pressed her head on my shoulder and willed a smile. I watched a lock of her hair as it fell, slowly, on the sides of my arm.
Your wife. She proudly carries her scars and lets them flap in the wind like a banner of victory.