Friday, September 12, 2003

It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer…and everything collapses.  ~Sidonie Gabrielle Colette, French Writer (1873 – 1954)

It was the day of Carl’s departure. Hoping for a divine intervention had been hopelessly, endlessly fruitless, and as I watched him packing, I silently cried. The tears of bitter love covered in thorns. There was no point in outbursts or anxiety attacks — feigned or real. The days where those tactics might have had some effect were long gone, having been substituted by a more sinister and ominous climate. I asked him what he would do next, but he stayed silent. I knew it was the time for goodbye.


The cab arrived, and he fed the cat one last time, patting it whilst it was eating, before it would once more return to its rightful owner. Then he turned out the light. He waited for me to leave first, and passively I obliged. I followed him downstairs and asked if I could say goodbye at the airport, but he said it was probably better we said our goodbyes at once. It was the first sentence he had uttered all morning. I took his hands and pulled them around me in a hug. He let one go, patting me on my head, drawing my forehead towards his lips. As I started to cry, he hushed me gently, hugging me even harder. For a moment I thought he cried too.

“I have to leave now. I’ll call you when I arrive.”

With that he stepped into the car. There was no “I love you”, no “goodbye”. There was simply nothing. Because soon the car turned around the corner and he was gone.

I had promised to lock up the apartment for him, so I went upstairs a final time. I imagined the many times we had sat at that kitchen table, laughing at each other’s jokes or listening intently to the stories we shared. I would sit in a rickety rocking chair, naked but for one of his used shirts as makeshift cover. Now it was all but distant memories I would have to learn to either cherish or forget.

I closed off the flat and went home. A bottle of Moët et Chandon and two sleeping pills sent me off into a coma.