This story bit was written after one of the professors, Dr. Murphy, passed away. He was a good friend of my professor and when I was sitting in class my professor’s grief was tangible. I wrote this scene about a person (I imagine her female because I am female, but it could just as easily be male) who can only feel emotion through other individuals. They are incapable of feeling emotion on their own, and must live vicariously through others.
“You think you know something about grief?” he laughed a dry dusty old tome of a laugh.
“Something, yes. Not personally, but I know something. I know it’s a drop of bittersweet dark chocolate under the tongue that makes you swallow, and swallow, and feel just a little bit like choking. I know it’s salt tears burning your eyes red. A hollow gut spilling out of your skin in waves, and waves. I know it’s the question why. That deep-seated child asking why were they here and now they’re not?”
“That’s not grief,” he said. “That’s poetry.”
“Grief is poetry.”
At first he said nothing and his eyes were nothing and his arms were so still and his body was so rigid he became a little bit of nothing. “That’s not what grief is. Grief is not poetry.”
“Then what is it?” I demanded, a clawed monster of pain awakening in my stomach and ripping, flailing, trying to find a way up my throat, but its legs were stuck in my stomach and so it reached, and reached behind my eyes and scratched away at my retinas.
“You’ll know when it comes,” he said quietly, and left. The monster left with him, and the pain, and the regret, and the relief, and the ever-present haunting that death left behind. I wrapped my arms around myself and waited to feel again.
**Also: Sorry about my recent trend in writing horribly sad posts. I will have something a little more positive in a few days if all goes well.