Stoop Hangs

There were at least 3 hummingbirds fluttering around the big pink tree. My first instinct was to holler at Alex inside, but the words got stuck in my throat, and tears started welling up behind my eyes instead.

This tree will forever remind me of moving here. It was in bloom when we first visited the apartment.

I sat on the stoop with the dog for a while, soaking in some much needed vitamin D and heat, eyes closed and face up, letting the sun dry the tears trailing on my cheeks.

I caught another glimpse of the hummingbirds, and my face was wet again. My entire body weighed 3 tonnes, I couldn’t get myself moving if I wanted to. The world had stopped turning, time crawled to a halt. The dog leaned into me, put his head on my knee and looked up. I scratched his chin, he growled contentedly as I wiped the snot off my nose.

Alex will never be able to feel the warmth of the sun on his face, or bird-watch from the living room window anymore. He will never stand with me to look out over the city again. And this cold winter morning, I mourned the loss of those quiet moments with him.

There is a bridge in Elysian Park over the 110 Freeway we visited often. We also went to the tops of every hill in Northeast Los Angeles in the middle of night just to see our town glitter from up high. It always started in awed silence. After a while, he’d light a cigarette and we’d try to figure out what was where. Then the dog would shake out and pull us out of our reveries. That was our queue to either go home, or, more likely, go to another hilltop. The Admiral is pretty easily tricked.

The neighbours and their kids downstairs came out, and I snapped out of my trance, back to this world without Alex. I waved hello to the little one, she motioned to the Admiral for a pet. I felt both relieved and lost, so lost. I am still straddling that line of understanding why, and not believing it to be real. Maybe it’ll never make sense, maybe it will. But for now, I’ll keep filing those quiet little vignettes with Alex in the tiny boxes of my mind where he lives forever.

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