I’m grateful for the shower chair. I’m not sure my legs would have held me up right now. I’ll never get used to how even the smallest of reminders can evoke this deluge of emotion in me.
You’d think I’d be over the worst of it. After all,nine months have passed. Isn’t pain supposed to fade over time? Or, if it doesn’t lessen, shouldn’t I at least have gotten used to it, have found a way to live through and with it?
Tears mingle with the water falling from the shower head as I remember the phone call, the mad dash to the hospital and, in excruciating detail, the moment his mother told me. I knew before she opened her mouth. It was in her bloodshot eyes, the way her shoulders drooped, the downwards curve of her mouth and the fact that she suddenly looked smaller than she actually was.
“I’m sorry,” she said. It took only two words to shred my heart to bits. She talked on and I caught words like 'aquaplaning', ‘did what they could’ and ‘maybe it is better this way’ but I wasn’t listening any more. I only knew one thing; he was gone and nothing I did would bring him back.
I close my eyes and squeeze my hands into fists, swallowing hard to keep the sobs from escaping. Shedding a few tears is one thing; I don’t want to be loud here, where others can hear me. It’s none of their business. Nobody knows I’m still as torn up as I was during those early days. As far as the people who know me are concerned, I was ready to face the world again two months after the funeral. I made myself available for work and functioned. As long as nothing rocked the boat I could float through my days on automatic pilot and being busy meant I had less time to feel.
Most pieces of my heart have reattached themselves to each other but there are still chunks missing; Lee shaped chunks. And I’m not sure I’ll ever find those again.
I rest my head in my hands for a moment before looking up and towards the exit again. It must be nearly time to get out of here.
“Cut!” As if on cue the director ends the scene. “That was perfect, Mark. I think we got it in one. You got those heart breaking emotions down to a T. If that isn’t an Oscar-worthy performance I don’t know what is.”
I turn the water off and accept a large white towel from an assistant. As I dry myself I almost smile. Lee would have been delighted to know that even in death he’s the backbone of my career.
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