If I Have Been Unkind

When you went missing, I didn’t wait the prescribed hours the police station asks you wait before you report it. I couldn’t when I knew, the way my feet sense snow, or you second guess endings half way through films. I felt it like a yogic moment, when the cool down sends you to sleep, and the sound that wakes you back up defines the dream you were having, and I dreamt the door locks undid themselves and I couldn’t find the faces of anyone entering, but the murmurs were the voices of reporters playing in the background of other TV shows, signal interrupted, overlapping like crudely stuck collages, photo albums.

When you went missing I imagined the scenarios I’d seen in films: planes crashing, kidnappings, other families with your name over them, tied to me like the branches of ancestors we never logged, didn’t type up on our internet trees or add on Facebook. I pictured you falling in shops in ice cream aisles or fridged food sections, clutching arms and outsides of hearts or appendixes. I tried your phone three times each minute, redialing before I could leave messages, my mind empty like our vows which didn’t need saying and the thought of forcing them was the remaking of a hit TV show in another language, not entirely true.

When you went missing I criticised your upbringing and mine and the links we had in the years leading to it felt less solid like chocolate full of air holes, worth half the money. I sent out prayers even though they’re easy to ignore like email, and I wished on cookies, upholstery, park benches. I pinched salt like seasoning might save you. Eventually, the candle vigils I labeled hopeful were a peace offering to gods or spirits I’d seen through and angered for it. And the two sounds that could make a day matter: keys dropping on kitchen tables, the ringtone for your number.

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