some ages are easier than others

Watching him through the partially closed balcony screen, he is beautiful, pensive, sitting with a cigarette, uncertain what he needs to say next. His gestures as he smokes are familiar, the slow, absent dance of the resigned to fate. (I am a comfortable witness.) In his head, he is silently writing a letter as he stares into space, turned inward, performing and rehearsing how to say goodbye. to my dear friends and family… He is new to this, but competent, and I expect him to survive.

(In my memory a day not quite the one before, myself in a mirror, comforting, holding a man through almost similar things.)

We fall asleep wrapped in the couch before the letter is sent, our heavy limbs a knot of courage as well as care, though his writing was finished by midnight, (a time significant only in passing, like a fallow attempt of a traditional childhood’s magic spell), marking like a hammer blow one of the last indivisible links in this particular chore.