at the meeting. for chris.

I shoved my face with crappy chocolate during the meeting tonight.

Crappy, stale hersheys and rolos hard as pebbles and I’m pretty sure

I consumed the paper cupping the reeces, in my haste, in my eagerness to

erase what I found out today, that you, they wrote, “passed away.” Usually, I text

you, whether you’re just listening in or sitting next to me; you make me laugh

and I have to pretend I’m coughing.

I didn’t pay attention to your coughs.

I am angry. I did not know you had any chance of waning. Your oxygen tanks

got heavy, it seemed, grew empty too soon, arrived too late, but still, you

never said you were close to running out. I want to ask you about this, right

now.

They want to pass another resolution; this time, about you. I want to hear

your reaction to that one.

I sit and listen, sort of, and there’s no one to chortle with, no one who gets

the ridiculousness, who can share my angst. Motions, seconds,

minutes, memos, sorrow, rage. And we never got drinks. Never

met each other’s wives. It was always going to happen, soon, right?

They still don’t really get why we’re here, Chris. I still don’t understand

what the point is, if any of this is worth it. We sit and argue and debate

and struggle to communicate, shuffle papers, take notes, slug coffee, pretend

we know what we’re talking about. Try to take change seriously. Try not to

take ourselves too seriously. Give up, hold strong, give in, stay put? Hard

to say what really matters, in the end. What is right, and true, and good.

And to what end? Yours? I spend the night waiting for you to arrive

somehow. I scribble on the agenda items and crumple the silvery wrappers

and then it’s over and we had a moment of silence and it was a big

empty hole and you weren’t in it, and then we are adjourned, to meet

again, to meet again without you, on paper, and with our

well-intentioned resolution to remember your laugh, your cough,

the precious rasp of every last breath that we catch

for just enough to love it, and that is, must be, enough. But

you know, it really isn’t.

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