This is sorry. Before the bad things happen. Because if I knew the man I picked would end you easily on rescue missions or resource runs, I’d have hesitated. There might’ve been hesitation, the sort you sense in Blockbuster. Instead, I defaulted.
Before he says what happened, tells me like I’m a priest capable of curing all ill (lol, jk, I’m a woman, right?) I picture you marrying trees, hiding beneath bodies, hoping for lulls in traffic. But there are always more coming and I allow for the possibility, I accept there’s a 45% chance you’re gone or you’re one of them. When he says, “I killed him. I had to end him. I couldn’t stand him being around,” I wait for sick but we’ve not eaten in days – the last meal I had, you were opposite, holding your plate close to your face, ready to lick it if no-one was watching. I was though, watching, wondering if you can extinguish flames with words, because words out loud are after all breath, and air can both fan or put out fire, and I wasn’t sure what my sentence meant. I’d have been discreet saying, “The arms at my side are dead weight and his heart keeps me awake beating like life’s the same, like constant’s are okay, and his skin’s sullen and I’m supposed to be okay with that?”
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.