It passes and leaves me with a shiver. So close. So very close. Cold creeps into my bones and time suddenly becomes an edged razor. Words and breath alike are pulled from me, silent and empty. I stand a little closer to my husband. He tucks me into his side and wraps his arms around me. Our eyes are drawn to the window and to the night beyond. The street is empty but we know we are not alone.
He is there. Quiet. Passionless. Constant. There is as much substance to him as black vapor. If I reached out, my fingers might feel the swirl and eddy, but I would pass through him. Yet, if he were to reach for me...
My skin tightens at the thought, my chest hollows. I draw closer to my husband and press my face against his chest. Every light upstairs is blazing but it feels like all light has trailed outside. Outside with him.
I forgot. Everyone forgets. Like a memory pushed away or a picture faded and yellowed at the edges. And then suddenly it is there, vivid and visceral as it ever was. It's the way he is. He is neither friend nor foe. He just is.
Death brushes against me and continues on. Without sight, I see him cross and enter, breathed in. His presence unfurls and spreads, brimming in the lives of someone else. He has passed us but his touch lingers here. Lingers in the chilly surface of my skin. Lingers in the clutched knot of my heart. Lingers in the narrowed reach of my world. Someday he will return. Someday we will breathe him in.
We hold tightly to each other—to life—and as I'm torn between sorrow and gratitude, I tell myself not to forget what truth we're given when Death brushes by.