When I wrote the letter to Seth, I was hoping to feel some relief from the regret I felt for not looking him up sooner. Maybe it was a bit of leftover regret from not trying harder with my relationship. But regret, even if it’s leftover regret, still has to be dealt with. Even if I managed to find Seth before he died, it didn’t mean I could have saved him. And I sure as shit didn’t feel any better after writing that letter to him. It was filled with nothings and regret. I don’t even remember what it says. Maybe it’s a thank you. Maybe it’s a series of sorry and memory paragraphs outlining a friendship that ended one day when the leaves were just turning from soft to stiff. That letter is stored away in a shoebox in my closet with the name Seth on it, sealed. I’ll probably never open it.
The etymology of the word “cunt” derives from Latin “cuneus” (wedge) or “gwen” which is the root of the word “queen.”
Queen, female ruler of a state, woman, an honored woman.
A rape kit is called “processing evidence.” A medical examiner will collect evidence including pubic hair, semen, skin cells, and any other physical traces left on and inside a victim’s body. The medical examiner told me to relax. The medical examiner told me she can’t do what needs to be done if I don’t relax. The medical examiner told me to stop talking.
Maybe I dropped it as I struggled to hold the box of Munchkin donuts and the lukewarm cup of coffee in my hands that I brought for you. Even after you told me not to. Even after you told me you needed space. I watch you now, my back barely touching your front door that still hasn’t shut all the way, allowing the last of the summer flies to creep in. You grip your phone against the hard line of your mouth, pacing the hallway between your living room and the kitchen like an ensnared animal. I want to look between my feet, by the front door behind my sweating back, because I know it’s here somewhere, but I can’t take my eyes off you. Even now, as you continue to act like I don’t exist, even as you’re yelling so loud into your phone CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE that there are specks of spit flying out of your mouth, you still mesmerize me.
I was told children are more resilient than we think. Eventually, I began to reorganize my life much as I would a flash fiction story: I started at the point of action and focused on a single moment in time. I didn’t allow myself to become overwhelmed by too much detail. I kept everything short and sweet. I realized the impact of all the unknowns in my life. The possibility—even today—of losing my son to epilepsy. How frightening and yet how important the absences in our lives can be.