Like a punch to the gut from a freight train the word “died” came across the line. The impact was like the time when I was still a very small boy and fell off that wooden ladder in Aunt Dawn's barn, smacking flat onto my back. It knocked the wind out of me. I didn't know what had happened and I thought to myself, "am I going to die?" A few panicky seconds later, I was able to wheeze some air back into my lungs and slowly crawl to my feet. Do you remember what you said? What you always said? “I'll give you something to cry about.”
The crying I finally did when I heard that you’d died was a great bubbling convulsion. Shaking silently on that red velvet sofa, I had to put down the phone and stand up. Standing in order to let the seizure of pain grab my midsection. Like I'd been free-falling and been suddenly struck in the chest by something fixed and solid while my head, arms and legs somehow kept falling together, leaving my lungs and heart and belly somewhere far above.
Some part of me was aware that this was a moment that would not come again. I could choose to, needed to, surrender control. But there wasn't enough air in my lungs to make a sound. I had to squeeze in the air to sob. Then finally the tears and the noise came and I felt strangely detached from my doubled-over, convulsing body, from my wet, red and hot with hot hot tears face. I let myself just stand there, my left hand on the crushed red velvet arm of the couch and my right hand flat, fingers splayed out on the cool glass top of the coffee table. My hands and feet my only tenuous tethers to the stable world as the rest of my body, heart and lungs cried themselves out.
Morgan Moore bounced around quite a bit prior to settling down to write in San Francisco. Some of his prior occupations include; snowboard instructor, US Army soldier, and cab driver. He finds the relative safety of writing quite gratifying. Contact Morgan.