Michael Kimball
Interview with Michael Kimball

How Much of Us There Was

How I Tried to Get Her Back
and What She Wasn't Doing Anymore

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    [I could almost hear her talking to me. She was near me or around me, next to me or holding me still. But she was gone too and I hadn't taken enough of her sleeping pills with me or I wasn't close enough to dying to go with her yet.

    But I wanted to get my wife back. I turned the arms on all of the clocks in all of the rooms of our house back. I rolled the number of the date on my watch back to a day that she was alive on. I got some old calendars out and hung them up on the walls. I called up the old telephone numbers at the places where we used to live. I looked out the back window and into the backyard until I could see back to years ago. I kept looking behind me, but I couldn't find her standing back there anymore either.]

    She wasn't living in the living room or getting up off of the couch or out of our bed or taking a shower or fixing breakfast or making lunch or eating dinner or eating out or going out. She wasn't answering the telephone or listening to the answering machine or calling anybody back or sitting in the backyard or breaking a glass or taking her glasses off or the trash out or rinsing her toothbrush out or putting her lipstick on or washing her face or her hands.

    She wasn't standing in the doorway or reading a book or looking out the window or at me or at old photographs or listening to old records or turning the radio on and dancing slow dances by herself or looking at herself in the bathroom mirror or brushing her teeth or her hair or touching her make-up up or tucking strands of hair behind her ear. She wasn't picking an outfit out or matching her bra to her panties or pulling her shirt on over her head or tucking her blouse down into her waistband or bending down to tie her shoelaces up.

    She wasn't rearranging the furniture or preheating the oven or turning the stove on or microwaving anything frozen or waving goodbye or buying a book or a newspaper or a magazine or pumping gasoline or driving our car away down the highway or riding her bike up the driveway or running through the backyard or walking through the living room.

    She wasn't looking through the cupboards or locking the windows and the doors or sweeping and mopping the floors or mowing the lawn or doing the laundry or folding the clothes or closing the blinds or shading her eyes or turning the lights off or lighting matches or planting flowers or watering plants or drinking water or mixing drinks or fixing her hair-do up or doing the dishes or stripping our bed down or unbuttoning her shirt or her blouse or unzipping her pants or her skirt or rolling her nylons down her legs.

    She wasn't turning the air on or the heat down or falling down and breaking her arm and her hip or getting up or waking up or standing up or sitting down in any armchair or climbing up the front steps or walking up the sidewalk or setting out place settings or sitting down at the dinner table or saying my name or touching my arm or my hair or my face or forgetting my name or my face or looking away or taking her pills or going to the doctor or the hospital or trying to sit up and eat or drink or talk or breathe.


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