When it came to deciding who kept the apartment, there wasn’t as much of a battle as there had been with other things. It had always been more of her house than his. He was just someone who lived there and paid bills. Still Dolapo knew he would miss the place. It was here he had first kissed the woman he still loved, the woman he would always love. It was these walls that held the sounds of his child’s first giggle, these floors she had taken her first steps, this couch she had thrown up on countless times, that dining table he had converted to a diaper changing pad when Nomi wasn’t looking, those kitchen cabinets he had scoured to satiate the hunger in his belly over 12 years.
All of that was over now and he would miss it. His therapist had told him that the first step to getting over an end was to admit it was an end. As far as Dolapo was concerned, the man was worth a whole lot less than number on the check he had to fork over every month since they started going to therapy.
He is looking out the windows of the seventh floor apartment towards the Harlem River when she walks in. There is no sound but the room suddenly takes on a life of its own and so he knows she is there. Nomi.
‘Hi’ she says to his back.
‘Hi’ he answers, without turning around, so she doesn’t see the tears that have begun to gather at the corners of his eyes.
‘I am going to sleep at my mum’s for the next couple of nights. To give you time to pack up. Just let me know when you are ready to leave.’
There is a tremble in her voice and he desperately wants it to be the fear and sadness of losing him but his head and his ego convince him otherwise so he stays with his back turned on her.
They say nothing, letting the silence speak for them as it has done these past 3 years since Amira died.
‘I am sorry’
‘I love you’
‘I miss her too’
‘It was not your fault’
In a few years’ time, they will meet other people and start again. By then they would know better. By then they would have understood that it wasn’t the sorrow of losing a child that destroyed them. Nor was it the grief which is a different animal all by itself than sorrow. Neither was it the thought of never being able to love another child as much as they had loved Amira. No, it was none of that. By then, they would know that what destroyed them was the silence. The words they should have said that they never said. The laughter of a child that no longer lives. The music of lovemaking that stopped a long time ago. The silence that is never really silent.
By then, they will know to never let silence fester like an open wound, beckoning to the flies of grief and unforgiveness. By then they will know there is no other way to love but loudly. By then, it will be too late for them.
Song of the day: One Republic – Connection