This is the hand, the pen.

The churchyard used to be good enough. But then churches had no backyards and so they pick pastoral landscapes for graveyards. Now every time I see rolling hills carpeted in grass I'll remember them dropping your body into a hole on velvet cords. Every time an oak cuts through space, jagged browns and blacks disguised in green, I'll remember the marble stone with your name, left in withered remembrance of all the light you took with you.

The guard let me in because I told him I was your brother. The nurses recognized me because I'd been there so much, so late.

"I understand," one said, when I told her my name. "It happens all the time."

See, I had to pick a time when no one else was around. Most of your relatives wouldn't know me and those that did wouldn't want to share the same air with me.

So I came at night when nobody was around. I came to your bedside and watched the machines that ticked off your life. I prayed for them to stop. I looked at the body they said was you and told it how sorry I was for everything I never did but should have.

Death does that to the living. It reminds us that when we were young we had dreams of doing good in the world. And then time makes us liars. It turns us to people who have no dreams.

I look down at this stone and wonder if when we sat and talked about writing and superheroes why one of us never said--but what if one of us dies? That's the problem with people, you know? They always die and they pretend they can't.

We were supposed to be fucking immortal. You perfidious wench, you made me love you then you took off for one last huge adventure and left me holding the ticket stub. You did this to me. We did this to me.

You opened your eyes that last time. They're burned into me. Nurses took the pipe from your throat so you could almost speak. They got on the phone and called your mother so I knew I'd have to run.

I had to lean over. I had to stop breathing, stop my heart to hear those words riding on barely moving air.

I heard what you said. I couldn't stop crying. I haven't stopped yet.

I wanted to touch you but there was nothing to touch.

I looked out the window and the world kept on going. Traffic lights changed. Cars turned street corners. The late shift went home and the morning shift came on. The sun had the audacity to rise. Somewhere they made coffee and played morning talk show radio as if nothing was wrong. Kids got ready for school. Farmers collected eggs.

Even when there was nothing left to do the crying, the pain wouldn't stop. It doesn't show on my face anymore. There are muscles I can't unclench. If I stop forcing myself, I know I'll stop breathing. No one will talk to me. No place is home. I'm not really alive. I just haven't fallen down yet.

I'm leaving, Katlin. This is the last time I'll come here. All of this has proven there hasn't been much value to my existence. What could be blessed that ends this way? This is the last time I'll do anything.

There is no love left in me, because there is no one left who loves me.

Your cancer killed both of us. It forgot I was still standing. The last episode is Where deeper is

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