by C. Ikpoh
His hand is being held. Through the night, through the cold and into the unknown, they walk side-by-side. I beg for him to come back, to not journey further into the night, but my pleading is not heard. The grip of his new companion is too pleasing. The words he hears are intoxicating. No words from me are able to transcend the barrier fate has built between us. I no longer am in his home. He lives beyond my reach now.
The memory of him gradually becomes more familiar to my great dismay. I yearn for a future in place of past remembrances. Alas, I am helpless against the desires of his new companion, which are to travel to a place far from my imagination where air cannot be inhaled, water does not satiate thirst, and food does not subdue hunger. In this new place, nothing I am able to comprehend exists, and as he walks away with his new companion, they converse about things only known to those belonging to the same realm of exclusivity they journey within. I am left alone, outside and unable to enter, unable to peer past the darkness they maneuver so easily through. I shout tales of old from when we last laughed, but he cannot hear the joy in my recitations. He cannot hear me at all. The sight of his shell provides no solace, for the animation which made him who he is... was, is what lived in all of us that knew him. It is the same animation bringing life to his new companion as they walk into the land I know nothing of and am not permitted to enter.
Thus, there is no understanding. I do not know why he was called by his new companion, nor what to do with the space he occupied in this world that can never be filled. Maybe one day, when I myself am called by his new companion, I will finally understand the walk he takes now. Until then, I live in his memory.