This terrified him even more, and in monotone, rigid speech patterns that were not at all his own, he begged me not to. He said his head ached, he said he wanted to take a shower, he said there was a tunnel, he said he was getting sucked into outer space. He pointed to the wall, the blank white wall, and asked me what it was called. I still don’t know if he was just looking for the word “wall,” or if he was seeing something that I could not. For a few minutes, he got “stuck.” He literally froze in place, sort of humped over with his arms hanging limply.
Her chair scraped back abruptly; the table rocked; and I didn’t see her walk away. I just stared at her untouched coffee as the tears came. I didn’t even know who I was crying for — her, me, the me of before, the me that should have been — all of us, I suppose. We’re all victims of this…tragedy. No one can live like this.