Anne

I can’t, I tell her.  Please, she says.

She is on her back and all we have for music is the sound of her heart translated by my hand on her chest, strobing, didactic in calm humanless rythym, a noise, beep, beep, beep.  She asks me again.  There is not as much white in a Hospital as you imagine there is when you are not there.  I feel it more than she does.  She is not strong enough to feel the job where the caring should be.

No one touches her right.  I remember when I hit her.  I remember and she does, now I know, the love inside of the horror that I am.  The love she felt for her captor.  This is what I was.  But having none then, how could I have had hers.  I tell her I am moving to Bora Bora.  This is the game we will play.  She closes her eyes inside.  They have been closed for minutes but I feel her looking no longer at my hurt, but her own freedom, my story, my lie.  I will tell it for her.  I left you, I’m leaving you.  I have to clear my throat even writing this.  And finally, I’m leaving.  Why, she asks me with a smile.  I tell her she cannot ask questions of a story, but you can.  She waits for me.  I feel her becoming an angel.  She gets it, I do not yet, but I do eventually.  In the hall I get a look from some shell of a woman, some monster of person, but I see it, I see it lifting me out of it, out of her, everything.  I breathe.  I settle down like a feather, falling, heavier for being lifted at all.  I imagine she is proud of me.

I am leaving you because you, because you don’t love me anymore, I tell her.  What happened, she asks.  Please don’t make me do this I beg her but it is her game.  She says ok.  She lets go of it like a balloon in the sky
only it sinks. I try again and again but I cannot finish the word and there is something so deeply painful about it.  About telling the truth like it’s a lie.  About watching her get so weak.  About not being able to do anything, at all, ever.  About being her or needing her to.  I stay til the end.

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