A coffee cup on a kitchen counter makes quite a different melody when no quiet breathing from behind some wall works to fill the space between the snapping of my lighter and the static from the radio. Where do I set my plate when your elbows aren’t spread like wings so rude across the breakfast table? The last thing I remember, when your voice was still fresh in my head, I was cross-legged on a snow pile in a mall parking lot; pay no mind to the crazy woman with her head between her knees, melting the ice with her eyes. No one looked at me. I knew even though I never looked back.
Somehow I was back in our home – my home now – feet curled to one side like I should have been reading the latest romance novel with a cup of earl grey in one hand. Instead I curled fingers around a paisley printed box of tissues while distant family cooked dinner in our kitchen, not knowing where we kept the silverware. They roamed like tourists. When someone handed me a plate I abandoned my fork and wrote your name in strands of spaghetti.
“Eat,” a voice said. An uncle? A cousin, maybe. My chin rarely stopped kissing my chest. I moved in increments of someone twice my age and continued to trace your name in entrees and desserts. Eventually everyone held their plates above bent arms, an ethereal beauty about the living room in splashes of marinara red and apple pie tan calling for me to forge your signature. A hand on my shoulder begged get some rest but my artist’s mind was twisting through a snow storm.
Like a cinematic fast-forward I am having lunch years later but it was yesterday you died, and quietly I am ordering another glass of red, shaking your face from my fingertips.