As her fingers danced on the keys, voices flowed like fire through her veins. The crushing weight of hopes, too many, fell against ribs, left her breathless:
the worn man reassuring his wife, slipping off the ring as he disappears into another life for another night;
the girl longing for more, dreading the anger, hot in her ear, of another unimpressed stranger;
the electric silence of lovers saying nothing, the hunger in their breath;
the frail woman, hands clinging to the receiver, pleading – the son’s frustrated tears while he soothes her, – he knows she will forget this too, soon everything;
inane chatter, too many words clogging the lines – who knew so many could say so little? – it became white noise, a waterfall.
She thought she could see, she reached through the torrent, voices cascading down, droplets of desire, breaking on her shoulders, she could not open her eyes, could not breathe, her fingers were dry, on the other side, So many voices.
But still, she could hear him amidst it all. Not a clear voice, never his – but his all the same; an echo, a relic tangled in wires, a mess of signals and messages in a sea of sorrow. She felt chords, wet and slick around her waist, coiled like fat serpents, pulling her beneath again, but she fought. She would lose, but fighting bought her time.
But not enough.
She was thrown to the floor, and collapsed into herself.
She needed to scrawl it into the walls, carve it into stone, scratch the glass, leave it in wood like teenage lovers:
“He is dead.”
Her nails, bitten and scarlet red to the flesh, dug into the damp oak – how had she gotten here?