This story doesn’t want to be told. Every time I unfold it and depress its wrinkled edges face up on the table, it folds and twists, writhing in pain, flipping itself face down, pressing its ink to the maple finish of the tabletop. There’s something about the markings that hide inside the crevices of that yellowing page, holes torn between blue imperfect lines, rips through the thinning parchments between words that run in crooked slopes, edges charred from attempted instances of destruction. What is the thing that holds it all together? The eerie silence clinging to this paper from Jodi’s notebook that was convoluted, stuffed under the seat of a car careening 130 miles an hour at 4 in the morning across a bridge built for feet, not for these thick black tire treads.
Today, I’m willing to concede. I’ll stop trying to open it up. Here I walk oblivious through crowds of my peers peering at picture boards, memories taken mostly from my room, and old folk, coffee cake hanging from their chapped lips. As I walk, I fold the withering scribbles tighter than I ever have before in all the battles I’ve fought with a piece of paper which feels almost transparent this many months thereafter. It’s so thin.
I hand the wadded up remnant to Jodi, slip it in her cold hand, our thumb rings click together, the black waves that we bought together, hers spins just a little from the friction that clinking with mine created. It’s the only part of her that moves, still. I push the paper far into her palm, so it’s no longer visible and step farther from the open end of her Maplewood casket.