Saturday, June 11, 2011


Jakob ran his sinewy fingers through the knotted unwashed mat that was his hair and scalp.  He wasn’t sore so much as obliterated by sleep as he lay on the maligned couch of his living room, the fire ticked down into a pile of luke-warm grey ash long ago.  When sleep finally overtook him, at nearly daybreak, it came hard, just like everything else in his life.  The misshapen room appeared flat as he scanned the remnants of his life around him, until Roofus, with her almost deep bright orange coat of heavy fur, warmed him by licking his face with the liquid muscle of her tongue, eager for affection. It was just after eleven in the morning, and a dense grey light filled the house around him—the snow fall softened and filtered the early winter through the sheer window curtains he hadn’t had the gumption to yet take down. 
He was stretched out, his jeans a pile crumpled fabric up next to him.  He couldn’t sleep in the bed anymore, though he hadn’t done anything to get rid of the things in the bedroom, including the mattress itself.  There were too many memories there.  Every time he moved one item, he found himself inexpressibly sad and immobile for days. His face would deflate even more so than usual, and his shoulders would roll, and he’d have trouble—actually have to make an effort—to breathe. Eventually he stopped trying to deal with the room, and more often than not, left the door closed. It was better that way.  When he cried, it was in intense and short bursts, and felt, somehow, both incredibly relieving and hopeless.  Crying was fresh pain, a new wound to remind himself of the old, and when the tears did dry up, however painful they were at the time they sprouted, his sense of loss blossomed because his connection to her was gone.  In a way, he felt that the tears allowed him some hope, some fresh emotion.  The reality was closer to a scar, now, not even a scab to pick at.  He was stuck.  Solitary. So.  So he walked.
          He was sure a yogurt container or two he’d left there sprouted into a field of moss and, if he were to open the door longer than to wrestle out some clothing or a hat, he’d be suffocated by a green blob of mildew so advanced that it mutated through various evolutionary stages into various subdivisions and platoons that would pour down his throat and pop out through his skin to take him over, to make him a giant chia-man or maybe, maybe, he just felt guilty.  He’d pushed for the surgery because, without it, they’d given her under a year to live.  At the time, he was scared. She was scared too, naturally.  She actually had to face her own death in an immediate way.  They sat in the waiting room clutching each other, sweating from pure nerves, and there were no answers, then.  Now, he was minus a wife, and there would never be a response to any of his calls, no matter how naturally he picked up the phone to share minute-level news with her.  He was always forced to put it down with a shrug, and let his eyes roam against the walls, order a slice of pizza, a cup of coffee, another newspaper, start a fire, finish a fire, clean.  There was no recourse; there was no way to break it.  

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