Things I Will and Won’t Do

by E.M. Killaley

 

This is not about the things I’ll never do again.  This is about the things we’ll never do again together.

This is not just about the things you can’t do, but the things you won’t do.  I don’t know where one of those ends and the other begins.  They are wound around one another like the infinity loop one of my friends gave me in high school.  I try to trace its progress but only become muddled, looking for an end.  I know I shouldn’t blame you, but the disease.  But when you yell at her, there’s a little part of me that does.

This is about the you that I miss—the you that lurks in the little corners of your body like your fingers and toes: the finger you once pushed through a hole in the bottom of a ring box for a prank, pretending you’d severed it; the you in the palms of the hands that once held me when I was small.

This is about watching those corners—those corners where the you that I know you to be clings—becoming smaller.  This is about watching them shrink in what seems to be a sped-up film, each time I return home a little bit seems dimmer, the clip a little shorter.

This is about the updates from family that always say the same.  This is about the updates that say less to make the distance hurt less.

This is about the things you won’t do, about the you that is disappearing, about the not knowing, not knowing what or who I’ll find one day when I walk through the door.  This is about not knowing what to say or feel, but continually, desperately, putting everything into writing, because it’s the only thing I know to do.  This is about my need to understand this gradual losing, this unbearable, languid stripping of flesh; one characteristic; one moment of lucidity; one expression of love; until they are all gone.

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