Rebecca has been dead for half a decade now.
I feel like I’ve run out of words. How many times, how many ways can I say that nothing is quite right, nor ever will be? That I miss the girl she would be today, eleven years old? That I’ve learned to hear around the void she left, but it’s always there in quiet moments, omnipresent, like tinnitus of the soul?
Five years gone. It will never be okay. I will never be okay, no matter what I answer when asked how I’m doing. I lie, all the time, to strangers and friends. To customer service reps. Librarians. Other parents at school. Myself.
“Hey, how are you?”
“I’m all right.” Liar. But better that than dropping a tragedy bomb on an unsuspecting soul.
A cashier asked me this morning how I was doing today, and I didn’t answer, because the words froze in my heart and I doubted that they cared all that much anyway. I waited a beat or two, silent, and then said, “How ’bout you?”
“Doin’ okay,” they said, as if I’d answered them. Maybe it was true. Maybe they were lying. Or maybe they didn’t have any particular reason to think about what they said and whether or not it was true, or false, or not even wrong.
I’ve said I’m used to it, and that was the truth. I’m not over it, will never be over it so long as I live, but I’m used to it.
Being used to this hurts, when I think about it. So I try not to think about it, and that hurts too. Not like a sword through the heart, not like unending fire, more like a dull ache. My aging body is starting to produce more and more of those. I resent it for living years beyond what Rebecca got. Snarl at reality for offering no way to give my years to her.
I’ve said all these things before, one way or another.