There were several morning tears. Working, working, working. Stay busy. Stay distracted. They came as early as 7am. I was listening to Lights Out in my car, in a parking lot, getting ready to meet the people who were kind enough to help me shoot a music video. For a few days I prepared and conceptualized like it was any other project. Like it was any other song. I caught a glimpse of her name on my necklace. This isn't a song. This is HER life. HER death. A story told by the last person she would ever choose to narrate it. And she's not even here to tell me she hates it. She's gone. GONE. I have makeup on. I can't cry now. Push it down there, with the rest of it. That's a wrap. Onto work. Album promotion, the absolute worst part of it all. Hawking my own self-worth on social media three dollars and ninety nine cents at a time. A pre-order parrot who can't even stand the sound of her own squawk. Wondering what on earth made me CHOOSE this. I can only hit send so many times before I start feeling nauseous. Wife time. She says let's go to the movies. I agree because I get to eat chocolate, hold her hand, and most likely take a nap. Action scenes help drown out the noise I hear always. We meet up with friends after. More distractions. I'm tired but I'm into it because I get to eat tacos, drink beer, and listen to other people's stories, which also help drown out the noise I hear always. Ten minutes after we leave the restaurant a stranger gets stabbed to death a block away. A stranger who must have been someone to someone at some point. Just like her.
We do our bed routine. Go pee. Check locks. Set alarms. Sniff lavendar oil sleepy thing. Snuggle. Make plans for boxing class in the morning. Audrie drifts off in no time, and suddenly I feel it. The ache, like a current rising up in my lungs, my throat, my nostrils, my eyes. Carrying with it the pain. The little girl. The guilt. The scrap metal. In that moment I am the most alone and the most sad and the most scared. My sobs wake up Audrie but even she can't comfort me. The want for my mom is so strong I feel it throbbing in my teeth. I am suddenly two years old. I am suddenly ironed out by my own grief. I can't move my limbs. My eyes are closed but I see flashes of color. Neon purple. I see shapes that don't have names. I yell out mom between sobs, a low drone that scares me because it sounds like someone else. Summoning. I wait impatiently for her to come rushing across the universe to hold me. Audrie doesn't know what to do so she rubs my back. She rubs it forever until we both fall asleep.