By the 13th day, anger has flamed into ashes and blown away. The emptiness of loss hollows a space that fills repeatedly with tears. I can’t think badly of him, can’t live with the last furious words I said to him. I can’t summon outraged dignity and hurt pride.
I call to leave voice mail, tell him I hope his upcoming biopsy is over with quickly and the results show he’s holding his own. The wish for his good health is real, but only the top layer of the message, which is I am still your friend, no matter what. I call when I’m certain he’s not there, because I’m not challenging his decision.
And he responds to the message sounding like it’s the first time he’s breathed in two weeks. We talk for two hours on the phone and I say, “I’m glad we could have this conversation. I’m glad it didn’t end in anger.”
He says, “Are you free? Can I come over so we can talk in person?”
At the end of the afternoon, he looks at the bead journal page – studies it for a minute before he says anything then,
“You really thought I was gone for good, didn’t you?”