How do you lose a child?
It’s not so hard,
really. You simply make one irredeemable choice. You ignore the warning bell
that rings in your head, because it’s not a bell at all, you know? It’s just
the gnat of a thought that’s too easily brushed aside. But in the scheme of
things, it turns out that it’s the mother of all bells, made up of all the
noise in the universe. You just don’t happen to hear it. Can you imagine?
that first irredeemable choice was so easy, I’m planning another. But I’m
finding the serendipitous ones, the ones that are completely spontaneous, are
so much easier. It’s one of those mysteries of the universe, like blinking out
your last contact lens into the sink just as the water is swirling down your
vanity drain along with the toothpaste you swished out of your mouth. You could
try to do the same thing on purpose for a hundred years and never manage to do
David and I sit across from each other at the dinner table, he pretends not to
enjoy his meal. He downplays everything on my account these days. He toys with
every bite, as I do in earnest, but he manages to clean his plate, while I
don’t even come close. I rebuke myself for every morsel I swallow, for going
through the motions of normalcy when things are so colossally abnormal.
try to remember what dinner was like a year ago, the day before that day, when a little girl’s laughter
was always on the menu. I try to remember how much I loved the three of us at
the table back then, together again after a day apart. What I remember instead
is how much I hated being apart in the first place. When you’re trapped in the
dark, it’s hard to remember the light. Still I try. Try to recall what our last
supper was, and whether Kinsey liked it. I’ve wracked my brain for three
hundred sixty days now to remember all the details of the last good day of our
lives. There are so many gaps. It’s a puzzle I work at even in my sleep.
Occasionally I find a missing part, and it’s like a gulp of air in my
drowningness. I just want to remember the last 3:02 my daughter and I were
together, the last 7:49. The glow of Kinsey’s skin in the last bath I gave her,
the last bedtime story I made up—because made-up stories were the ones she
liked best. Is that too much to ask, I ask? The detectives, who now call this a
cold case—as they called the Martin case until this morning—tell us as kindly
as possible to accept that our little girl is not coming home. Well. How do you
do that? How the—
An excerpt from The Color of Sorrow Isn't Blue, by Sharon K. Souza, which releases October 8. Available at Amazon.com.