On the plane ride home from Maine, after take-off, amidst the familiar sounds of soda cans opening and air blowing out of those tiny nozzles overhead, I flip both of our little televisions to a soccer channel in Spanish even though we don’t have ear phones.
At night, I try to do pushups like you did before bed. Sometimes you’d ask me for a number and I’d pick some random number for you to do. I’m up to five myself.
I sleep in your T-shirts- the ones you got at stoop sales or thrift stores in Park Slope or the black t-shirts I bought you for the concerts on the tour that you died on.
Sometimes I just stare at Audrey’s toes while I’m trimming her toenails- the nails look exactly like yours. Her upper lip too, is a duplicate of yours.
In the car, I keep the radio tuned to the station you listened to- the one that plays indie music, but on Sunday mornings plays celtic music with lots of bagpipes.
I tell Audrey stories of how you were supposed to be practicing piano for four hours but when your mom went out, you ran outside to play with friends and only came back in right before she came back home. She laughs at this a lot.
Audrey sings a song about manners and talks about “please and thank you,” a lot and one day I hear her saying, “I wanna say please and thank you and goodbye to Appa.”
I rub off my “deh” in the shower the way you taught me and I stare at your pillow nightly before turning to go to sleep.
This must be the “integration of the loss” in clinical terms, I think. For there was no goodbye- but there also is no goodbye. “We couldn’t forget him, so we decided to live with him,” your dad told me tearfully at your grave in March. And so, you are here always- not in a cheesy, sympathy card kind of way. Not in a New Agey ghost kind of way. Not buried in the cells of my limbic system, but on the surface of everything I touch or do. Your life on earth, like the atmosphere of this strange new planet.