Friday, May 02, 2003

vignette: vacuum

I came home from university to find her at the door, bags packed, waiting to say goodbye.

"What's going on? Where are you going?" I asked, but I already knew the answers.

"I wanted to give you my keys. There's some chicken in the microwave, just make yourself some rice," she said, handing me her keyring.

"Please don't go."

She looked at me with her black black eyes and everything I loved about her was reflected in that instant, in the measure of her gaze. I knew that I had lost it all.

"Don't. Don't cry, Jon. Please." She kissed me on the cheek and held my face in her hands.

"But why? Tell me why," I asked her. My entire body felt like it wasn't my own. It was too heavy, too solid, too real to be real in that unreality where the world existed but was of no moment.



"Because it's time for me to go."

I watched her walk away, down the hall to the elevator. I wanted to run after her, to beg, to plead, to try everything, say anything, but the unwelcome gravity of the situation was too strong, too compunded, to fight, to struggle against. Instead I watched her turn to me one last time as the elevator announced its arrival, watched her vanish behind its familiar metal doors, watched the ghost of her last smile disperse like the illusion that it was, and stared down numbly at the keyring in my hand.

And I cannot help but think of things like gravity and inertia because I cannot understand everything that happened - I am left only with the learning in my head, my beloved astronomy. I am flooded with thoughts of particles in motion in a void; black holes suspended in infinite black space and of the loneliness of their existence - invisible, powerful, devouring, in solitude; of stars that suddenly flare and supernova, brilliant, burning, echoing light for millions of years, and of worlds that spin unaware that the source of their light is long dead, long gone, a corpse-light.

And I think of my place in all this absurd rumination, of her place in my world. And I recall some insipid maxim about how, to the world, she was just one person - but to me, she was the world; some doggerel that should be comforting but is ultimately meaningless, because words, like sound, cannot exist in the vacuum I am floating in.


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