Death and goodbye

He died yesterday. Everyone attended the funeral, he died yesterday. The room went silent. Uncle Tom and Aunt Margaret were crying. She could not, everyone tried to console her.

There was nothing to console. She did not feel grief or sorrow. In fact she did not feel anything else but a strange void, an unusual emptiness. That very same Sunday they had walked together hand by hand under the trees of University Avenue. “The municipality closes the street to vehicle traffic during weekends”. Only the day before he had complained about a head ache, and went to sleep early. Blue night, sunset darkness, she tried to wake him up. “Your tea is ready”, no response, “your tea is ready” she shouted. She did not clean the broken china pieces of the ground. The room smelled like tea for a few days.

She could not cry. Not a single tear slipped from her eyes; not a single one. The room was crowded with black suits. She remembered scenes of her mother’s funeral. She could feel the humid trails of those tears falling again through her cheeks. She did not cry, even though Larry was crying, and “he never cries”. Larry I am sorry, I am sorry. “Teresa, he was more than my friend. He was my brother, he was my brother” “I know Larry. I know”.

The bed still smelled like him: concentrated gastric fluids, morning smell. They always slept in the same bed. “Why?” She thought that night, “Why didn’t he move to Sally’s room?”

She fell asleep trying to find an answer. She could not find it. In the morning it was an unusual feeling to find the emptiness crawl at the opposite side of the bed. She could then feel how 46
years of his bodily humors suddenly stopped coalescing besides her. He was not there, not there. The room still smelled like tea. Uncle Tom and Aunt Margaret would come for lunch. I must be ready, she thought and could not avoid thinking of him, shouting at her while reading
the newspaper at the kitchen table. A shriver escalated her back.

She liked that photograph. Only twenty years ago, look, she thought, look at how we smiled when we were with Sally, dear Sally. Gloomy day, they cried, deeply, she picked the call. The police officer said the accident had left no survivors. He could not contain a shout, and they hugged in desperation, for hours. Sally, our little princess, she thought, do you
remember her, she said, and the room replied with a deep silence. “You became gloomy after that, you stopped talking, as you used too” she laughed, “yes Rob, you stopped being clownish and merry as you were since I met you.” And then her memories turned towards another
gloomy day.

She remembered that day, it was cloudy outside, Sally was not at home. “Where is she?, you asked with that sharp voice of yours. I don’t know, I said. Outside, I replied, you shrieked and went away, leaving a trail of sound while going up the staircase. I did not cry that night, I
did not cry as I used to, for I realized I did not love you anymore. I did not love you anymore.

We had our Sally and that was enough, that was enough.”. She looked at his picture, smiling and wearing his gray suit. He liked his gray suit. She thought, “he felt so stylish while wearing it”, she smiled. “Silly Rob, silly, silly Rob..”, and thought of the day he accidentally poured on her white dress a cup of wine during a cocktail party at his boss’ house. “You were so proud of being invited, you were so proud. Remember? You asked me a million times, if your tie was done correctly, yes it was, surely it was, Rob, silly Rob”.

Her heart leaped after looking at the photograph. Sally, she thought, an held its metallic frame with both hands. “That day you held my hand while I looked at you, and we both smiled at the tiny, and fragile naked body that breathed softly while sleeping on my chest” “I loved
you so much that day. I loved you so much Rob.” And the memory suddenly emerged, of the day she, dressed in white, waited for him nervously practicing her words, “yes I do, yes I do”, “I was so nervous Rob, so nervous” She then thought of the autumn evening when he fell to his knees. They both cried after looking at the reflections of the diamond flashing as a lonely star in her hand. “I loved you so much Rob. I did, I did once”.

A vague remembrance of a feeling sprung in her interior, vague and warm, mysterious, and forbidden, she smiled. “Do you remember Rob” she said in loud voice, her words resonated through the empty room, empty bed, empty space. “I loved you when you said my name, “Teresa”, with that deep voice of yours, when you spoke into my ear, when you kissed
the back of my neck, the white of my forehead.” She paused, and looked outside, it was a lovely summer day. Summer day, she thought, summer day. “I loved you that night, that very first night, I loved you shaking, and trembling with that unusual passion I only ever felt with
you. I loved you that day, when I fist felt your lips under the shadow of that tall tree. Do you remember Rob, do you?” That was him, she thought, while looking at the photograph of a young man dressed in a white shirt smiling and looking at her with a gaze frozen for sixty years. He walked by the bus stop that day, that summer day. He walked by with that same
smile of unwrinkled lips and fresh skin, and sat besides her before asking her name. “Where are you going Teresa?”, he asked, and sixty years later, “I don’t know Rob, I don’t know. Where did you go? Where?” she replied shouting, but he could not listen, he could not listen.

She smiled again, a faint smile with a touch of sadness. She did not cry. She could not cry, but her fingers could not resist the temptation of flipping down the photograph they were holding. The door bell rang. She thought of him coming back from his usual morning walk.
The bell rang again. She heard a pair of voices blabbering outside. It must be Tom and Margaret “I am so silly” she thought “it is so late, and I have not prepared lunch.”