He put his notebook away – closed it, really – tucked it under his arm.
The next thing. It’s not linear, but I’ll try to make it make sense.
The phone call to my brother-in-law answered by my sister-in-law followed an unusual path. I set in motion a game of church-telephone, similar to the childhood one, beginning with my unconscious inability to say that word. The D-word.
Without hesitation, my sil jumped into action. She tracked down her husband in church by getting hold of someone there. Third hand, my understanding is that the message morphed from my intent of ‘gone’ to ‘gone missing.’
When told his brother was missing, my bil’s response was, “Which one?” The lovely thing about this is that, in this extended family, the pre-cursor ‘step’ was never more important than the word ‘brother.’ And, there were eight possibilities, so the question was wholly legit.
Back to the beginning of this post and the end of the last post…
A milli-second after the officer’s pad pages met in closure, my sil burst through the door and near-breathlessly huffed out, “Did he leave a note?” Other rapid-fire questions followed.
I’m not sure of the accuracy of my recall. I was too busy short-circuiting, in panic mode – trying to absorb that my emphatic word had not been absorbed.
I heard Wal*Mart and scooter and a suggestion that maybe he’d gone for an early morning ride to the store down the dirt access road at the end of our street. Trying to follow along, I pictured Jeff 4-wheeling in an electric scooter on the recently rain-soaked non-road.
I glanced at the officer, who was looking questioningly at me. I shook my head from side to side trying to convey that she wasn’t asking about a suicide note. She was asking about a where did he go? note. In an almost impossible way, I managed to squeak and scream at the same time. “No! No, he didn’t leave a note!”
Honestly, I have no idea who else might have been in the room with the three of us. Bits and pieces of garbled voices and suppositions were hovering just outside of my tunneling-vision.
Time stopped long enough for me to realize this was exchange was going wrong, way too fast.
Using the same words I’d been using all morning, I tried a little harder instinctively adding the universal double-handed hand signal signaling ‘no’.
“No. No.” I insisted, more firmly. “He’s… gone. He’s … (pointed silence)… Gone.”
The shock dropped her to her knees with a keening wail, and it occurred to me, I hadn’t done that. Surreall,y I internally questioned myself, “Why haven’t I done that?”
I don’t recall her rising from the floor, but she must have because I’ve heard the story of the revisory call.
That’s where this segment ends for me. I don’t know what my next move was, where I went or what I did. I skip through scenes.
None are cohesive, none are in real-time. It’s all a shattered photo bleeding from one puzzle piece to another. I cannot make them fit correctly.
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