I thought I'd lost her forever, but clues led me to her final resting place...
When my shovel finally struck a hard surface, my heart dropped into my stomach. I almost chickened out, and I wanted to replace the mounds of dirt back on top of her final resting place. But I thought to myself, Well, you’ve come this far, so just see it through and then you can get on with it.
As I hopped into the hole, I wondered what she would look like. I didn't even know when she passed so I don't know how old she was. I don't know what circumstances she was going through and how much she suffered before she transitioned. I felt guilty for having been so far from her in the end. Not only were we not close but I completely lost touch with her. I feel like I didn't even know her at all when we stopped communicating, and I really missed her. I've felt lost without her all this time which only makes this gruesome act I committed all the more offensive.
I paused to stare at the coffin, pensive. I looked for her, you know. She was my favorite person and when she disappeared, it took me a while to get the guts up to go searching for her. I guess you could say I've been an empty shell ever since. When I finally found out that she died, I couldn't believe it. Didn't want to believe it. I couldn't believe it because I couldn't make sense of how she could be gone and I'm still here, because we were inseparable. It felt like a crime against nature to think that she was dead and I wasn't. Like someone losing their identical twin, it's just wrong. But we were more than identical twins, if you can believe that. And when I reminded myself of that, I then felt like I owed it to both of us to find her and say a proper goodbye, even if she couldn't say it back.
I'm really not a glutton for punishment but I felt like I had to know. I had to know how old she was and then feel bad that I got to grow older. I had to know what she looked like and if she was sick in the end and then I would feel bad for not being there for her when she was sick. But I needed to go through these motions. And through the emotions. I needed to properly grieve.
So when I wiped off the layers of dirt from the top of my coffin, I had to pry it open with hand tools because the hinges were rusty and the lock was pretty solid. And when I finally cracked open my casket, I found that I was still alive; just barely hanging on, but alive nonetheless. And as I cradled her in my arms, her listless limbs drooped at her sides and I couldn’t even tell that she was breathing. Yet when a flicker of movement from her eyelids indicated that life persisted, I felt a whole new wave of emotions. Still guilt, but for different reasons. I cooed and hummed as if cradling my own baby, and when she finally opened her eyes and smiled up at me, I whispered, “Hello, you.”
And she squeaked, “You found me.”
“I’m here now. I got you.”
We had work to do.