Hello Sadness 2020 – Part 2-12

The burial took place in Paris under a beautiful sun, with a curious crowd. So much black. My dad and me held hands with Anne’s old folks. I watched them with curiosity – they would probably come have tea with us once a year. They looked at my dad with sympathy. Webb must have told them about the proposal. When I came to the exit, I saw Salil trying to find me. I avoided him. I felt bitterness toward him and it was completely uncalled for… I can’t justify it. The people around us hated the senselessness of that terrible event, and because I still had some doubts about whether it was accidental, that made me feel a bit better.

In the car on the way back my dad took my hand and grasped it in his. I thought to myself – I’m all you have left, and you’re all I have left. We are both alone and unhappy. And for the first time, I began to cry. They were pleasing tears, not like the void I’d felt at the hospital in front of that print of Venice. Dad wordlessly handed me a tissue, his face devastated.

For a month we lived like a widower and an orphan, eating together, having breakfast together, not leaving the apartment. We spoke a bit about Anne sometimes – ‘Do you remember that day when…” We spoke with caution, eyes averted, afraid to cause ourselves pain, afraid that something would unhook within one of us and we’d say things we couldn’t forgive. The carefulness, the pains we took were worth it – we could sometimes talk about Anne in a normal tone, as if she was a person we cared about and would have been happy with, but who God had called back. I write God but I might have written fate, or whatever, because we didn’t believe in God. It made little difference in that situation whether we did or not.

Then one day, at a friend’s house, I met one of his cousins who I liked, and who liked me back. I went out with him a lot for about a week, with the intensity of the start of love, and my dad did the same with a young and ambitious woman. Life carried on like before, like it was always going to. When we met up, me and my dad, we would laugh together, speaking about our conquests. He knew that I was with Philippe, and I knew that his new girlfriend was costing him a lot. But we were happy. Winter touched its end, and then we rented another villa, near Juan-les-Pins.

Only when I’m in my bed, at dawn, with only the sound of a car driving along the road, and the sea beyond, my memory sometimes betrays me. Last summer comes back with all of its memories. Anne. Anne… I whisper her name quietly and for hours in the dark. Something builds in me which I welcome by its name, with my eyes closed – hello, sadness.

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