I looked everywhere for one. Shifted neatly folded clothing on their shelf. Lifted covers to peer under beds. Eventually I gave up and went for the bookcase. The place old books go to die.
I ran my finger along the spines of the books all crammed there together- just in case there was one that got away. One that was still alive.
Behind me, a trail of dust fairies and dead, black words. Between them a faint memory of walking among the medical stacks looking for a text I needed.
From our shelf I pulled out Auden. "Into this neutral air."
I pulled out Frost. "...so dawn goes down to day."
I pulled out Irving. "It was a sound like someone trying to not make a sound."
I pulled out Krakauer. "But at times I wondered if I had not come a long way only to find that what I really sought was something I had left behind."
At that I stopped searching for what wasn't here.
I paused already knowing what it meant and what the next day would be and the one after that.
How I will slip out the back door into the wet morning air. At an hour when you can close your eyes and the city still weighs like the desert before dawn. Sore, and sort of already feeling defeated, eventually I will break loose from the gravity of the ground and start running.
When I return the already defeated feeling will be gone- and I won't even remember where I left it. In its place the need for a shower and a second cup of coffee. I will discard my clothes (my bad shoulder will ache as I wriggle out of my sports bra) to go stand under the spray of the shower. Layering warm water on the warmth of my body while the coffee seeps and steams dark & alone.
Then the day like smoke, along with all the words in my head, will slip out of my hands.
On Saturday I will take the girls shopping for summer clothes. Between the questions and the sideway giggles I will wander off to find more books. Buy at least 5. Get them home and turn them over in my hand one by one trying to decide where and even if I want to begin again.
Eco. "There are books on our shelves we haven't read and doubtless never will, that each of us has probably put to one side in the belief that we will read them later on, perhaps even in another life."
Then I will picture him smiling at me, my copy of Auden in his hands.
"Lay your sleeping head, my love, Human on my faithless arm;"
Then I will pick a place to start over. One foot in front of the other; one page at a time.
"Once the bonfires are blazing how they became lit becomes inconsequential in comparison to how close you were standing when the flames took hold. Your cape is on fire, this is no time for skipping, little girl." mlb, Pillars of Gomorrah