Re-Entry: Quotes – 4.

Original written entry on June 14th, 2007, 1000hours-ish.

Olivia picked up the album and fingered it the way she used to touch that minicassette that held David’s voice. The power we gave objects, she thought. What are pictures, after all? Flat. One-dimensional. Not even true representations of the thing itself. Tricks of light can blur faces or send red dots into people’s eyes.

Olivia let her fingeres drop to his face. She touched the flat laminated surface of his cheeks. So alive was he in this picture, she imagined her touch would settle on real warm flesh. But of course, it was just plastic over paper. “When I went to the hospital,” Olivia said, “I didn’t really look at him. I glanced. To be sure, you know. And even then he was dearly so dead. So not there.” She touched that picture, too, her fingers remembering the feel of his ribs and skin and muscle, the way his hair grew coarser as it crept down his belly. And then she remembered all of it: the citrus smell he seemed to carry on him, the dimple in his chin, the lightning bolt-shaped scar that ran across one knee. If only she could remember the exact pitch of his voice, the rise and fall of his laugh, she would have him back again, even for this small moment.

“Olivia?” Winnie said, her voice soft. 
Olivia closed her eyes, lost herself in these sensual memories. She ached for him, all of her, the way a person who has lost an arm or leg claims they feel pain in that missing limb. She imagined – no, she actually felt – the particular way it was to be in his arms, how her head settled in the crook between his shoulder and chest, that smell – limes, or orange blossoms?

Winner said again, louder.
Olivia wasn’t crying, but she trembled; all of her was trembling. “Good idea,” he’d said. But it had been the worst idea she’d ever had.

Winnie and Ruby wrapped their arms around her, held her as close as they could. But she did not fit against them the way she had with David. She could not stop trembling for a very long time.

– Ruby, Ann Hood.


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