I see it as we move into scene 4. My phone lights up in my hand I look at it read the message: there. Everything I’ve remembered for months. Endless agonizing weight just barely shouldered. Plain as day as
I stand out on stage bent over boxes. The scene begins with my character packing I pick up a book: Denial of Death. Gaze. A moment uncertain of how to move. I place it inside take the box to the table set it down a thought I head to the kitchen backstage (empty knocking).
I walk slowly the door swings open. “Em?”
“What’s wrong? Is everything alright?”
My lips tremble hers glow the dim light slurs out of lines. Lights. This can’t be the taste of air. I can’t hear love’s leaving over the lilt of silence glowing lips untrembling my double lives run run into each other. I breathe in water holds all weight.
She whispers looking away from fingertips tingling with lost magic.
My character’s nephew nets in narrating woes. I turn I watch her curl into her mind falls recedes from moments before. Moments when it had been soft. Looking loving breathing falling. I remember.
At the wave’s crest I look to her eyes for help I remember.
“I can’t… you just needed to talk to him.”
“Aunt Emily, stay? Please?”
Words collide nets loosen. Reach for pockets of light breathe fingers caught in each other’s neglect.
She walks past the couch I’d left her fallen bleeding hands clenched into prayer and flame. The day she got onto a plane bound for another continent and never came back the weeks underwater telling me it could no longer go on the long wait for vanished gravity. Dust motes in sunlight.
“Is she okay?”
A heart collapsed for piano wires.
In the end we talk each word a struggle curved in the blink of eyes on fading mornings. Her fingers running over my chest. Her hair in my nose my lips my forgetting. Oak-blue forests for gold.
“Please. Don’t write me anymore.”
The lights blow and blue remains. I watch the vacant ghosts of eyes watch me waiting foreheads whisper oxygen. Goading on my cacophony of selves and the only real thing in the room. Move, they seem to say. Break this sudden universe. Show us. Show us how music stretches after a day behind the bedpost, a month in quiet, three of a kind. Show us the words in letters you burned. Show us the scent of her laughter. Look in the direction of the continent she flew to.
Lights up on disappearing bodies.