After

The first day after the news she hears the door open as afternoon fades to evening, and she feels a rush of anticipation before realizing the one person she wants to walk through it won’t. Ever.

The second day after the news her assistant tells her to please have something to eat. The food sticks in her throat and so she has a few shots of tequila instead.

The third day after the news she sleeps. Today she misses his arms around her.

The fourth day after the news Lori and Jessi come to stay, suitcases in hand. She thinks she points them towards the guest-room, but she can’t be certain she didn’t just stare blankly and leave them to their own devices.

The fifth day after the news she puts on black (and this shouldn’t feel like any other day) and mourns with everyone else. They murmur comforting words and give her hugs, and she wants to tell them all to fuck off because no, they DON’T understand.

The sixth day after the news she says a private goodbye in her journal. When she realizes the journal pages have ended in the middle of a sentence, she screams obscenities at the neatly bound book and throws it on the ground.

The seventh day after the news she asks Karen to turn the photos around. It’s too painful. Today she misses his smile.

The eighth day after the news she finally releases a statement. She knows people will think ‘too little, too late’ but let them judge her and find her wanting. It doesn’t matter.

The ninth day after the news she gets a text from Kristen. They’re dealing with his belongings and does she want the letter and demos addressed to her, and the guitars? She asks Karen to pick them up immediately.

The tenth day after the news Cory and Steve arrive at her door with flowers and another box of things for her. She lets them stay while she looks through their old photo album. It’s when she sees a photo of Lindsey smiling and cradling a younger relative who she can’t even identify that she breaks down.

The eleventh day after the news she’s alone in the house and she lets herself have a two-hour long shower. Her back feels scalded when she gets out, but the pain is right and good. She puts on one of his old ripped T-shirts that she’s had for years. She knows it’s been used and washed so often that it no longer smells like him, but she tells herself that it does anyway. Today she misses his eyes.

The twelfth day after the news she listens to one of the demos he left her and she wants to pick a fight with him because damn, it would sound so much better if he’d slowed it down. He always likes (liked) to hide his vulnerability behind his guitar skills.

The thirteenth day after the news is just a setback, she tells Lori. She didn’t mean to say those things. She didn’t mean them, really. She did, though. Every word.

The fourteenth day after the news she watches someone on the TV speak about him as if she knew him. Nobody knew him like she did and she switches the channel as soon as the woman with the frozen face says, “He left behind a wife and three children.” She's never felt less significant.

The fifteenth day after the news she goes through a whole box of tissues before she just gives up, burrowing into her bedding and pretending it’s 1977 and that he’ll be over soon to apologize for making her so upset. It was ALWAYS his fault. Today she misses his voice.

The sixteenth day after the news Karen tells her she’s got over a hundred requests to do an interview. She say no to all of them and tells Karen to go away and not come back.

The seventeenth day after the news she puts a photo of him next to her bed. She thinks she took it one night when they stayed at the house after recording something for ‘Say You Will’. When she wakes up at midnight she can almost pretend he’s beside her, sleeping quietly.

The eighteenth day after the news she feels like things should be easier by now. They’re not. Today she misses his hands in hers.

The nineteenth day after the news she plays his favorite guitar and laughs out loud when she hits a bum note. She wishes he were there to roll his eyes in frustration. She enjoyed irritating him with her incompetence. He just couldn't handle it.

The twentieth day after the news she changes her will and removing Lindsey’s name from it feels like the hardest thing she’s ever done.

Today she misses him. Another day, another way.

ANicole BarkerAComment