“Where the hell are you, man?”
And you reach out in the dark but no, not yet, you can’t answer yet. You’re not strong enough, the pain behind your eye still stays your hand.
A minute ago, he turned around, expecting to see you. You watched the expression on his face slide from easy expectation to ambivalence to disappointment to fear. A single touch and you could have reversed that course. You were there the whole time. With your ears on, as he likes to say. Close enough that you could feel his heavy exhalation just before he turned back.
But you’ve never been able to touch. Even before all this. He’s always been the one to touch: a slap on the back, an arm around your shoulder, oh God an embrace that everything in you wanted to return but you couldn’t, you couldn’t.
You got to grip him tight once, and that was all.
Your hand still burns with the memory. And the memory of pushing him away, of letting him go, not letting him pull you back to earth as you pulled him once.
You fear he will never trust your touch again. And now, as he prays and you don’t appear, you fear he is slowly letting go of you in his heart.
It’s only fair. You let go of him.
“Of course I’ll watch over Sam,” you say, in the dark, words unheard. “I’ll watch over both of you.”
He just slumps forward, his head in his hands.