“It’s me, Sam, again. God, I wish I could hear your voice now. I mean, sometimes I do, in the whispers of ordinary things—a rustle of someone’s sleeve, a breeze through the leaves of that oak on first, even my own breath when it hits the early morning frosty air—but, it’s not really you, you know? It’s just what I have left of you, broken fragments, memories. It’s me, trying to bring you back into my life. It’s me, plastering your facsimile on my world without you. It’s me, alone.
“You’d laugh. God, how’d you laugh at me now. Me, sitting here, spilling words instead of tears like normal people do. You always said that God crossed some wires in my brain, attaching emotions to my hands or my feet or my throat, just not my face. You said you could never see anything in my face, but just by listening to how I walked, you would know. If I was happy or sad or angry, you said I walked just a little differently.
“I was always happy to be with you though, so I guess it was probably pretty easy to tell. At least, I should have always been happy with you. You said I was a grouch, so maybe I wasn’t. But, maybe it was my kind of happy, you know? A grouchy happy. You’d be laughing again. I wish I could hear your laugh. It always rumbled across the room like a giant, golden retriever. It was a pandemic, sending fevers of joy and spasms of mirth into all that heard it.
“God, I need to stop doing this. I know I do, but sometimes, I guess it just hurts, you know? And, I need to talk. I am staring at your coffee mug. I don’t know what to do with it. I mean, it’s yours. I feel like it should make me happy to see it, to remember your silly morning face with your hair skiwampus and your eyes glazed, but you were always smiling. The mug’s yours, so it should be happy. And, sometimes, it does make me happy, for a moment. But afterward, it’s just worse.
“I’m sorry. God, I’m just so sorry. I just can’t let go. I can’t. Every month, you know, the phone bill comes. I see your name. You stare at me through a void of black ink. I can almost see your face, I can almost hear your voice, I can almost feel your lips on my cheek. And, I can’t stop it. I can’t stop that tiny part of you that’s still out there, that’s still alive, because it’s all I have.
“I can’t—Oh God, I just can’t—
“ …I think I still hope you’ll pick up, even though I know you can’t. I guess this is love. You hope when you shouldn’t, when it doesn’t even make sense to hope. And, I love you. I don’t think I even realized how much I loved you, or even what love could do, until you—until you d—… God, I can’t say the word. Can you believe it? Even now, I can’t say it.
“I love you. I hope you knew that. I hope you know it. I love you so much that I sit here and pretend you can hear me talking, that you’ll be there tomorrow morning to listen to your messages and drink a cup of coffee. I love you, and I love all the ordinary whispers I have left of you. I can never let them go.”