Morbidity & Mortality

I should be asleep right now so that he can die.

This was the thought that entered my head approximately 30 minutes ago as I lay here unable to fall asleep. Time travels on a rail, like a clockwork train in my mind, with events popping up like stations along a seemingly circuitous route. Memories are mile-markers; I emote a landscape.

What I remember, how I remember, the fidelity with which I remember are all frictionless, an infinitude of momentum, arrantly effortless.

And what I remembered all day today in general, and 30 minutes ago in particular was the corporeal death of Allen Howland. I have written about him any number of times; those of you who knew him don’t wonder why. Those of you who know me may worry that I remain bound to another lifetime. Those of you who have known us both, apart and together, would quell the worriers.

I remember these things, as I said, because I remember them, not because I’ve failed to forget.

He died when I finally fell asleep beside him in that huge bed of ours after more than two days of being non-responsive. He died when I wasn’t paying attention after two days of paying so much attention that I not only forgot to eat, but I’d forgotten whether I had or not. He died, you see, some time between 12:05 and 12:55 on July 13, 1995.

But I’ve told you this already. The station, the marker, the landscape. All of it.

Only by now I’ve also got a map. No surprises, everything marked. Convenient and helpful and, perhaps most importantly, foldable and put-away-able.

So I put it away for another year, learning little except what’s contained in the sad and small sweetness of the repetition.

Most men won’t ever care about what I’ve learned and what I remember. And that’s a loneliness not put-away-able.

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