The empty cup

I feel empty today.

I start and stop, trying to write something, staring blankly out the window, listening to the loose sounds of outside, turning back to what is inside, the hum of the fridge, the creaking, restless noises of an old house, and still I cannot come up with anything to say. I could say lots of things, I could say nothing at all. I don’t really know how to articulate the strange and floating peculiarity I feel.

When I woke up five years ago, Mr. Bell crept beneath the covers, as he was wont to do in the mornings, thinner and more angular than he used to be, but still alert, and happy, and defiantly alive. When I went to bed that night, he wasn’t there anymore, and my brain had trouble parsing this. His things were still there — his bed, his favorite toys, the scattering of medications and fluids that had accumulated on my desk, the debris of death and dying, but he had disappeared.

I think there was something about that day that made the whole thing even worse, that while the rest of town celebrated, parades and spontaneous fireworks and flags and music and barbecues, I was sitting in an uneasy silence, Loki restlessly walking through the house, looking for someone he would never find again. Even today, I cannot bring myself to shake this off, to set aside the past and come out into the daylight. There is just this, the sense of being empty, that indescribable sense of something lost, something I always reach for but can’t find again.

When I think about being home again, I flash back to the old house in Caspar, to Mr. Bell and Mr. Shadow among the nasturtiums, to the way Mr. Bell used to follow us to the beach sometimes, sitting at the bottom of the stairs waiting for us to be done. Through years and across miles and what feels like a thousand lives lived, these frozen moments in time still feel like home, endlessly, and sometimes I wake up thinking that I will see myself there again, but I never do, and never will again.

People like to talk about the glass half full, about doors closing and doors opening, but no one tells you that the glass half empty will never become full again if it shatters.