I thought I knew about Invisible Cities. I had committed the roads between them to memory. I had the maps. I had walked the paths. I recognized the shifts in landscape, from the craggy sharp jutting shale, to the humid and salty marsh, to the long stretches that never seem to end. I traveled as a tourist. I lived in them for many years. I owned property. I fled. I set up shop. I bought postcards. I couldn't leave. I sat by fires.
I can see these cities perched on top of a flat disk, like the way we thought the world was shaped hundreds of years ago. I see my Invisible Cities like a platter, a feast. Heavy with every different person, laden with the challenges of a life with a special needs child, rich in the incredible bonds that tied everything together.
I have fallen off my world. A sea monster came and thrashed our ship. The masts smashed to splinters by cancer and death sending us reeling, toppling, charging over the side of the world.
But I am still alive, though she no longer is. I come to in darkness. My arms are empty. My heart is shattered. What was blood has dried to stone in my veins. She is not here. No matter how much I call her name. I am in a world without the sun, moon and stars. I have entered a place more invisible than I could have ever imagined. Ghosts are more real than this place. They have more life, more body, more to tell us about ourselves.
In here, (is it a box? an ocean below all other oceans? the space inside your mind where you lock the door?) time is measured in seconds since she died. The weather changes all around you but you do not feel it at all. My eyes are turning black from lack of light, the pupils pushing the iris out to the furthest reaches of a border, coloring all I see with black black black. I cannot see because she is not here. I cannot hear because it is too quiet. The only noise is the sound left over. It is the sound of absence.
When you are tumbled by waves, lost in the ocean, you must go limp. You must wait to breathe and then, seizing your moment, follow the bubbles of your life up to the surface, where you will be able to breathe again.
I’m going to drown here. So much of me will die. But I am new and do not know what that means. Because even dead I am still alive.