Sunday night. Holly came for the kids after work. They were sleeping. Avery was asleep on the couch. Sitting up. He fell asleep sitting up, while watching television. Aurora was asleep in her crib. She’s sick. Has been sick for a few days. Double ear infection. We’re giving her two types of medication. She threw up sometime between going to sleep Saturday night and my waking her up Sunday morning. She barely ate Sunday. Was down for her second nap when Holly came over. She had to be somewhere, so couldn’t let the kids sleep.
So while however many millions of people were watching football, I was working on an essay to submit to Revolution House, for its upcoming Nonfiction issue. The editors at Revolution House nominated me for a Pushcart Prize. I owe them. Or, owe isn’t the right word, but if I’m going to write an essay about D’s death, Revolution House has earned first dibs.
And I am going to write an essay about D’s death. So I’m working on this essay, for which I’ve learned how to perform an autopsy, and I was e-mailing and texting with a couple of friends. One was keeping me in the loop about Madonna’s halftime show (“didn’t miss much; she didn’t sing live”), and another was reading drafts of the essay as I was ready for her to read drafts of the essay (“The pictures make it almost too real. They’re effective, but, I actually gasped a little.”), and I decided, after thinking about it for a week, to e-mail D’s sister — well, the woman raised as D’s sister — and offer my condolences.
I texted a friend, and he responded: Well, did you run the e-mail by Mallory?
Mallory, the woman reading the drafts of the essay. I’ve never met her. Yet she knows a lot about me and my thought process and how I will often tear apart a sentence just to get it sounding right in my head. And my friends know about her. Or, this friend knows about her.
She and I talked about the email, but I sent what I wanted to send, I replied.
My friend, who knows about this woman I’ve never met.
D’s sister has deactivated the “message me” function on her Facebook, and I am certainly not going to send her a friend request, so Friday night, while this friend and I were debating the pros and cons of offering condolences, I decided I wouldn’t send anything.
Unless she was copied on an e-mail that D sent me, since I have all of the e-mails.
A pack-rat, even digitally.
And she was copied on an e-mail. May 2010. The day D and I and my brother got back from a trip to New York. D had taken a picture of graffiti on a wall, and had e-mailed me and his sister the picture.
I’ve seen that wall several times since. Each time I see the picture, I remember the day in May 2010 when D, my brother, and I walked by that wall and D had to stop to take its picture. A few blocks later, we passed a flower vendor. The flowers were in vases labeled with the names of the flowers.
In one of the vases: Sweet William.
You’re my sweet William, D said to me, and I said, you never call me William.
Because he never called me William.
And I e-mailed condolences to the woman who probably found D’s body.
Post-halftime. Sunday night.