“I’m so sorry” just isn’t enough

I ask how you are. Remembering that I loved you once. And maybe will again. (Or perhaps it’s that I still do. I can’t tell.) You pause because there’s bad news.

I’m never speechless, but this silences me. A silence as cold and hard and unexpected as a drop of freezing rain down my back. The one that sneaks past the layers of clothes I wear to protect myself.

I think a heartfelt “I’m so sorry” is appropriate here but it comes out like the empty cliché it is. This is a situation in which “I can’t imagine what you’re going through” feels ridiculous, heavy, useless. I don’t think they make sympathy cards for “there’s been an accident and we don’t know if he’ll live.”

I want to fix it. But we haven’t seen each other in months. And it’s never the same, even though somehow and miraculously it is.

I don’t hear from you for days; it feels like forever. I assume, then, that no news must be bad news. And it is.

It isn’t my loss but, because it is yours, it feels like mine. I can’t breathe when you tell me and I don’t expect that. Then, I don’t know what to do. Who to tell, how to say it. What to say to you. I feel far away and wish I could teleport, which I then remember is the super power you said you wish you had. I wanted Inspector Gadget’s mechanical legs. I guess both powers would allow us to get places faster. Maybe the place would be called Closer to Each Other.

I do actually search for a “sympathy” card. I look for 10 minutes for a card that doesn’t make me think of widows in black polyester dresses, blue hair, and casseroles.

The most appropriate one I find is under the category “Thinking of You” because I am. But that’s nothing new.