We cling to memories as if they define us, but they don’t. It’s what we do now that defines us.
I am feeling that feeling, it’s a big feeling, it feels something like a hand over your face that stops your breathe, something large and eternal and enveloping, like it fills up the whole sky, the whole galaxy, all of space.
An infinite hand bigger than breathing and bigger than space, when I see her there and I catch her looking, I approach slowly behind her, and slip my arms around her waist. She has not let me in, she won’t let me in. Why won’t you let me in? I ask her. You don’t want in, she says. You want around, you want near, you don’t want in. There are two hundred forty seven ways to have your heart broken, she says, and I have felt them all. We draw closer for a moment.
Why won’t you just love me, I ask her. She says it’s not possible to make someone feel something. Even yourself, she says. Even if you want to feel it. Things go backward. And then, one day, whatever it is we had, it’s gone. It won’t come back. We both know it. Whatever it is she let me have, she has taken it away. Whatever it is when two people agree to briefly occupy the same space, agree to allow their lives to overlap in some small area, some temporary shared region of the world, a region they create through love or convenience, or something more uncertain and elusive, whatever it was, has collapsed and closed. She has closed herself to me. I don’t even know if I want her back, I only know I can’t make her stay.
She turns around, she turns away, the world stands still by turning faster. I feel her sadness with every step, and then, just before it ends, she smiles. She is remembering us, the happy moments we had. I am standing alone thinking of someone I once loved. I don’t know if I am her thinking of me, or if I am me thinking of her, or if maybe, right at this moment, as in all moments, it doesn’t matter, there is nothing left, and so there is no difference.
In the last room I came across a little cabinet filled to brimming with every sort of dog treat available, all the kinds of treats I used to treat her with. I had tried to keep her interested in living with the endless promise of all those treats. Instead she stopped eating and drinking water, she could hardly walk or stand, she grew shadowy, distant, and more still. She showed one final time a faint interest in peanut butter, and in the treats, but the little plate of both left next to her remained in the end as it was untouched.
On the last day she was vulnerable and quiet and too small in my arms when I carried her, warm dust barely still formed, as fragile as woven paper, already no longer really there. Soon afterward she died, and I was forced to say goodbye. I cried, and kept crying, it’s the first time in a dream I can remember ever crying like that. I cried long and hard and continuously, like it would never end, and I would never stop. It was strange that I didn’t wake up crying. I woke instead with a clear recognition of the heaviness in my heart and a sense of being empty completely. I continued to lie there as the light began to break thinking and remembering and feeling sad.
That sadness has never left.