- Vol. 06
- Chapter 05
The room is quiet, too quiet. I click through online sites, read posts on social media, select an emoji at random, play videos that confirm the fact that our attention span has now dwindled to three minutes and forty-two seconds, enough time for a song to avoid becoming monotonous or a speech, boring. I glance at the lower right corner of the computer screen, disturbed that several hours have gone by and I have not gotten off the couch and am lit by the glow of the pixels because it’s now night and the nearest lamp is out of reach. How many videos does it take to fill a lifetime?
I remember what I’ve been trying to forget.
You left—resoundingly—slamming the apartment door, as if it were the weapon you wished you could use on me. You had slung over your shoulder a trash bag of wadded clothes and odds and ends that may or may not be useful to you, like a reverse Santa Claus. You ignored my presence. I ignored your drama. Gone, you left no forwarding address.
I continue to surf the web when my finger pauses over a photograph, one of those outer space photos from NASA. Endless black above the soft milky blue of earth. I zoom in on a white speck of something in the black plane, enlarging the image several percentiles. The speck brightens, grows appendages, a bubblehead. There are no grappling hooks or tethers attached to the lone astronaut. I gaze, like the camera that has taken the photograph, as the solitary figure floats up and away.
The person in the spacesuit is unrecognizable. Just as you have been for weeks and months. My throat muscles tighten. I want to call out to the astronaut, call him or her to come back.
But it’s dark now in the apartment. The lamp is no closer than it was before. My ears remember the jarring vibration of the door when you slammed it. I imagine you slipping away, farther and farther into emptiness, farther and farther from me.