Alone Together

The fog settled over Portland before dawn was an aged and decaying maroon; a hint that just beyond what you can see is some beautiful dawn but what you get is a morning sky the color of dried blood. While I was imagining the best camera set up to document such a thing on my walk to the cafe, an all-familiar sound cut through the otherwise silent streets.

The sound of pain.

A spoiled howl, a cathartic cry of a woman coming from one of the houses on the street I was crossing. A scream interrupted by a choking-up of tears and the attempt at forming the wail into the word, “Why?”

The porch lights of a bright red four-plex were on and I stopped next to the trash bins of the restaurant adjacent to the situation, and though I knew nothing of what was happening, I still knew everything about it. The guttural sledgehammer of sound—millions of invisible rocks and nails tearing at a throat before projecting in to the ether, indiscriminate of sight or situation surrounding, like a cannonball through a plate-glass window—only loss can create.

Not wanting to intrude or eavesdrop, I continued on quickly around the block. The familiar routine of coffee and e-mail updates presented itself in front of me, and this is just how it is. The panic attack of betrayal, shame and emptiness that wakes me each day now continued with my footsteps, in some fucked up sense of anonymous commiseration. I wished I could have helped that person, but I wouldn’t know how. What could I say?

“I am at a loss, too.”