It really is the most powerful yet dangerous and cruel of human traits. It forces us to defy logic, sometimes at great cost. Other times it guides us through treacherous waters and back into the arms of our loved ones. We cannot live without being in its presence yet we can die tragically while being draped in it. It is truly a paradox.
And yet this is exactly the type of life I have been living, within a paradoxical world. Logic says that my soul mate died eight months ago. Logic says that my unborn daughter also perished in an accident on that rainy evening. Her name would have been Angela, after her mother, Angelica. Logic says that it is unhealthy that I have become a drunken recluse since the party that put us on that road and into that electrical pole. And logic definitely says that I was not talking to Angelica on instant messenger. Hope forced me to defy logic.
Three weeks after their funeral, I was finally released from the hospital. I do not know why I escaped Death that evening. Truth be told, I have a major beef with that son of a bitch when the time comes. I’ve often fantasized and practiced drawing that meeting sooner than it might expect, but my computer keeps drawing me back down from the roped rafters. It’s also the reason why I don’t leave and why I no longer talk to anyone on the outside. I don’t know what’s going to kill me first, my clutter and filthy apartment or the noose that beacons me. Don’t really care either way.
Even after making sure all of my electrical devices were turned off and even after investigating all the ways she could have logged in and stayed logged in, her face still sits there, welcoming me. Everything about the situation paralyzed me. When I looked at her screen name and her picture icon on the messenger I was always left dumbstruck. Every time I saw her face I got the same sensations and emotions; that I was falling, that I was being haunted and tortured, and that I was always left hopeful and optimistic that I may stay connected with her, even after death. And every time I sent her a message I sat there praying she would answer back. I’d tell her about how much I missed her, about how horrible life had become without her, about how we missed our daughter’s birthday and how I constantly fantasize about her crawling or the sound of her cries, or how I was sure she would have had the same smile as her. Even in death, she was still my best friend…still my lover.
Occasionally she did write back. An “A” occasionally (my name is Adam), sometimes small words, “as,” “was,” and sometimes just gibberish. She always seemed to send me these hints, these clues to her existence when I was asleep and especially when the lights were out. I’ve tried to narrow down her routine so I adjusted my sleep schedule to try to catch her online. It was so difficult at times because she could go days without saying anything. Not even a letter. But I know she was trying so hard to communicate because when she did type to me I would always hear her move near me. The clutter helped magnify the sound.
The sounds changed often. Sometimes it was something rustling nearby, other times I think I could hear the eco of the keyboard clicks, most of the time it was just a light humming of rhythmic vibrations…it had to be her soul I was hearing. Oh those sounds, I could tell she was always so close me, trapped, unable to embrace me as she knew how much I yearned for her touch. How much I needed to feel her again. It got to a point where I would just pour my soul into that chat box for days on end, barely sleeping, always hoping that perhaps my words would will her back into my arms. As the months passed and the trash around me grew, the louder her sounds rang to me. Then one night, a rainy night much like the one I lost her in, I finally found her.
I hadn’t slept in two days when I went on a drunken writing session with her on IM. It was one of those sessions where I talked about giving up and wanting to join her, where ever she was. I felt such a real connection with her in that moment. I just knew that she was really listening to me this time and that I felt if I kept confessing my love to her that night that I would finally be reconnected with her. I remembered the last thing I would ever type to her, “Angelica, I need you so badly. I need to be with you right now. Please Angelica, I beg you, please come to me!”
That’s when the power went out.
It had been the first time in eight months that I had lost contact with her. Soul crushing panic quickly set in as the thought of never being able to speak to her again began to suffocate me. I stood up quickly as though standing would get me high enough to reach the oxygen that seemed to have been sucked out of the room. That is when I heard her, louder than ever, in the pitch darkness of the wasteland that had become our apartment. I could hear her moving swiftly through the apartment. It was as though she was everywhere; in the closet, under my bed, in the kitchen, everywhere. I had never been so overjoyed in my life, with exception to her telling me we were finally pregnant after four years of trying. I had finally done it, I thought to myself. I had willed her back to me!
In a frenzy to find her, I stumbled over towers of food trash and junk and abruptly crashed onto the ground, splitting my forehead on something solid. My God how I relished the sound of her conjuring near me when I fell. It was almost as if she was trying to catch me based on the sound of the swiftness in her movement. As I laid there on my belly, I start to push myself up when the lights suddenly clicked back on. There she was, lying under our bed, wrapped and trapped in black cords, leaning up against the shoebox of her favorite work heels. She was there all along and I didn’t even think to look.
As I moved toward her, I saw the rats scramble to get away from my footsteps, climbing over her to safety. I picked her up…her work laptop that is…still plugged in as she left it the night she died, using the power and Ethernet outlet hidden behind the headboard of our bed. Apparently her employer forgot to ask for their equipment back after her death. I’ve been so angry for being so stupid, yet so thankful for the eight months I thought I spent with my beloved Angelica, and yet still so lost with dread that it was all a delusion. Logic says they both are dead and forever will be due to my indulgence that night.
Hope, the most dangerous and cruel of human traits, defies logic at great cost. This has been my paradox. This has been my Hell.
Most deservedly so.