The floor was hard despite the carpeting, which itself was scratchy. I was only vaguely aware of the discomfort; all my focus was on her.
That year, whenever we were together, we laid on the floor rather than the bed. I couldn’t tell you why. At the time, all I knew was that she was lost. She had curled against my chest, using my right arm as a pillow, and crying quietly. There were no sobs, no whimpering, just tears falling on my arm where the sleeve had been pushed up.
I had stopped asking what was wrong. Maybe she didn’t have the words. Maybe she had learned – as so many of us do – that telling others doesn’t help. No one can take the pain the away; all you can do is find some way to bear it. For her, at that moment, she managed by crying as I held her.
We stayed like that all night. She dozed off at some point, while I stayed awake holding her. When the sun finally invaded, she got up and asked me to leave. I offered to stay, but she insisted. At a loss for how to help, I did as she asked.
It wasn’t the last time we spent a night like that, but eventually there was a last time. Maybe someone wiser than me would have found the right words. Maybe someone less self-absorbed would have cared in the right way. But we don’t get to live in the maybes; things happen in the way they do, and maybe can’t change it. I did what I could do at the time. And it wasn’t enough.