The calls were the easy part. I made them all from my office after going to the funeral home. The double windows in my office have a few of the center of the campus. There is a small pond that boasts an islet near its center. A pair of swans live in the water in all but the coldest months. When ice begins to form, they are transported to a farm in Connecticut. The school keeps the pond stocked and the swans’ wings clipped. While not particularly friendly, the swans are docile. Extremely stiff penalties are in place should harm come to either of the birds; this no-nonsense attitude has curbed all mischief. The students know better than to feed the swans. Not only do they tend to follow the hand that feeds them, they have been known to bite the same hand. The learning curve about this fact seems to have to be rediscovered by students every eight to ten years. Kelly spent much of today walking around the pond. Sometimes, I see her sitting with her knees pulled tight to her chest, seemingly hugging herself. Today, she had settled herself on the islet, sometimes
called Dickinson Island. I had the sense that the calls upset her.
I am distressed, myself. My attachment to Gillian can not be severed by her death. It will have to be redefined. That’s what happened with Kelly. Why should a goodbye to Gillian be different?
Then a thought strikes me, I wonder if I will be followed by a host of the departed. Could those souls be bound to me haunted by my love?
I need to go for a run. At home, I strip out of my work clothes and wiggle, squeeze and pour into running tights and a compression bra. I find one of Declan’s tees folded in my laundry and pull it on. I like feeling something of his close to my skin. Down at the bottom of the stairs, I pull on some socks. I cross to the front door, go out and pull my sneakers out of the basket. I drop them on the ground. Bending at the waist, I undo the laces and pry the tongues back so I can ease my feet it. I lace them tightly. When I stand up, I do some cursory stretches. I do a slow jog toward the pond to look for Kelly. I don’t see her. Then I head off to the River. I keep my eye out for Kelly along the way, but don’t see her. I book it. I run hard and without holding back. I am not sure if I am running from or running to. I just know I am running.
We are approaching the longest day of the year, but, when I arrive, the river is darker than I expected. I take one look, then turn and run home. I will shower then meet Carl at Gillian’s house. I saw him at lunch in passing and we agreed to try to meet around 8:30 p.m.. I walk the last 500 yards onto campus. The distance is just enough for me to return to my house and for my heart rate to return to resting.