I had come in through a cellar door. She came in like she always had; she wasn’t there and then she was. It was a long, empty space, windows on two walls, a bureau in the corner. The light was even and dim. She lay in bed and we talked like we had never been apart. Many things had happened – kids and other traumas – but now we were back to how we had always been. We were content, nervous too.
We wanted nothing more than to be here. She said that. I did too. And it wasn’t guilt. We knew that there was nothing like this. It was pure, almost like that, something to believe in. We had been here and lost it. We were back again. There was no other place to be. Until we drifted apart again.
It was here and would be gone. I knew that. We were making promises we would never meet. Lives had been lived. If it were any other way, this place would not be here. She said that. She said she was as I wanted her, as I pretended to remember, because that was the thing made it so whole, that we would never be there.
She watched her sister getting ready to go. She did everything in tight, well-practiced turns – cinching the strap, adjusting the seat, looking up at the screen, scrolling through the updates – not looking back, not doing anything except what she had to for her to leave.
She didn’t want to say goodbye to her sister. She had to say it right, reach for her hand, wait and then turn to go. It made it worse to think about it. She should have just done it, just say the words and be done with it. But she didn’t.
She was exaggerating everything. She was exaggerating. They had been together too long, forever on this journey, and now they weren’t. That was all there was to it. As much as it might mean later, it was just this moment, the same as the last, the same as the next. She wasn’t going to make it something else. She would see her soon. She turned to go.
“Hey!” Her sister yelled after her.
She turned back. “What’s up?”
It hurt to hear her say it like that, like she hadn’t
thought when they both knew she had. “Give me a call when you get there.”
She turned away again, back to her screen. “I hadn’t thought of that.”