she sounds resigned and, hearing her say this, i feel resigned. she is, after all, 98. what a run... etc., etc.
it isn't until two days later, when i wake in the middle of the night from a dream where she sat across the table from me, her feet up on my chair, and we just sat there, at ease, looking into one another's eyes across that table, it is only waking from this dream that it hits me. and, hearing the birds chirping out in the dark of night, i do not feel sadness or pain so much as an intense melancholy.
you have no idea how fast it is all going to go by, garebear always says. how fragile everything is.
oh but i do, i reply. and i don't think he ever believes me or will, but it isn't a lie.
months can go by without my ever thinking about jessica and then suddenly something happens and it's like my mind's gone skidding along an electric fence.
and i wonder if everything would be different, if i would be different, if anything would be different or if, in fact, nothing would be different, had the girl who lived next door lived.