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Title: "Drowning" 1/1
"Don't pretend you're sorry, I know you're not
"I can't imagine life without your love,
He couldn't sleep. It seemed like he'd never sleep again. He rose from bed for the third time that night and padded barefoot down the dark hallway.
He turned the doorknob very carefully, holding the glass globe tight to the right to avoid all noise. Why? There was no one close by to hear his actions.
But since his loss he'd noticed this almost terrible need for quiet. Especially in the night. It was as if the darkness could wound him if he didn't take special precautions.
He pressed the door closed behind him, twisting the knob gently back. He felt better when he was here--shut in with his thoughts.
There was a tiny bit of light inside this room. A night-light plugged into a baseboard socket cast a greenish ghostly glow which barely illuminated this space. He walked to the desk and reached for the CD player. There was no need to select an album. The CD had been in place for days now. It was set to repeat the last song.
The strains of "Drowning" softly filled the room. The volume was set low. He couldn't stand to listen to it much above a whisper of sound. But he could make out each word clearly.
He paced the floor, staring down. There was nothing really to see. He wasn't watching for obstacles. He knew well enough there were none here. He could pace to his heart's content as he listened to the music and sang along.
Finally he'd allow himself to sit for several minutes. When he was close to shaking with weariness he'd finally be able to cry.
These were not the body-shaking sobs he'd cried before. Those had passed. Now it was almost difficult to find his tears. The pain had changed into something different. It wasn't an open, gaping wound that poured blood and made him want to scream in fear. No. That was over, thankfully.
Now the wound had scabbed over. It seemed on the mend to most people. He was cheery and smiled and managed to go through the proper motions all day long. He was surprised how easy it was to say and do the right things.
His pain was deeper now and seemed to be constant.
It wasn't a sharp and over-powering pain. It was a throbbing soft ache. He could deal with it and go on and pretend it wasn't there. But it was with him every minute of the day.
He was proud of himself, actually. Most people had no clue he was still suffering. This loss seemed like death to him. It was very final and even frightening. It was black and blocked out the sunshine. Had there been sun today? He couldn't remember. Had it been a cold day? Or warmer? It was winter outside and winter in his soul. But the winter inside closed out the air around him. It blocked all sunshine and all warmth and all joy.
The word had meant so much to him only a week before. "I can't imagine life without your love, And even forever don't seem like long enough." He sang the words and one silent tear squeezed out from the corner of his left eye and made a solitary trek down his cheek.
His lips were dry and chapped. Most people would suspect the cold weather as the cause. But he'd sit here for hours and lick his lips again and again, imagining pressing them against her soft mouth.
"Baby, I can't help it, You keep me drowning in your love." He was drowning. He'd been under her spell for so long. Was it possible to ignore those perfect moments? Could a man really move on and forget words--her words--that had touched and molded him? Her thoughts and her feelings and her praise? Was he supposed to forget those now?
He rose and began to pace again, suddenly unable to be still. His legs were aching from hours of walking at night, combined with the work he did during the day. He needed to sleep. He knew he needed rest for his trembling muscles and grainy red eyes.
Would he ever feel like sleeping again? Would he ever welcome the world of dreams he'd consigned entirely to her image?
He'd tried to sleep that first night. She'd been there again in his dreams, her creamy skin and soft curves beckoning to him and pulling him under. Covering him in dreams. Loving him mouth to mouth.
When he'd started awake from this sweet sleep, the sharp slap of reality had been horrible. Almost beyond bearing.
He had barely had more than a brief cat-nap since. He couldn't face the dusk. He hated the sight of the stars sparkling in the night sky. How dare they be so beautiful while he was drowning in her love? Drowning alone without succor. Grasping with both arms for some lifeline to save him. Knowing with every beat of his heart that no help would ever come. He would be in this dark limbo forever.
How had his friends managed to deal with losses like this? He knew the stories by rote after seeing them up close over the years. His loss was no different or worse than these other losses, after all. He wasn't the first man to lose his perfect love. His pain was probably no bigger than the pain other men had felt.
He knew it was true. So he grinned and joked and pressed his mind to the business of day-to-day life without a single complaint to those around him. Did some suspect this raging grief? Did anyone really care?
Loss was such a lonely matter. Though friends would try to offer comfort, there was little they could really say. The bad seconds had to be borne alone. Had to be faced in darkness and with tears that almost resisted falling now.
Tears were like an acid eating up his soul. He needed to force them out in this dark room and let their wetness wash his face free of his grimace of pain.
"Don't pretend you're sorry." Was she sorry? Did it really matter whether she was sorry or not? Did it matter if she thought of him at all? He had died and moved into another world where she no longer really existed. He could gaze through some ether and see her shadowy form. He could even reach out and communicate with her if he wanted to. But he was still a dead man. She was alive and in love with another and going forward to a place that would never include him again.
Loss like this must be like dying. Everyone said you died alone, really. It was the last single act you'd have to do on your own. Well, perhaps losses like this were just God's way of preparing a man to face his own eventual death.
"Every time I try to rise above, I'm swept away by love.
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