Everything reminds me of Earl—my beat-up old Reeboks, still scuffed from our last trip to the beach; my threadbare black jeans, the only pair that still fits me, which finally split irreparably in the seat while I was prying myself out of the MG. His Christmas gifts to me, The Art of Maurice Sendak and Lighthouses, which have become our coffee table books.
Tuesday, I dropped by Earl’s house to take pictures of the paintings on his walls.
“Doesn’t it feel really weird to be in here,” Pippa asked me, “in Earl’s inner sanctum?” I was searching around his bedroom for the album I gave him for his birthday. His family had said they couldn’t find it—but there it was, still in its box, in the middle of his desk. To one side in a cigar box were the pictures I took on our outings—except for the sunset card. It didn’t feel weird, I realized, because his bedroom didn’t remind me of him—I’d never been in it, except when his sister was sorting through his things and showed me a shopping bag full of sixty-one pairs of socks. “That’s the side of the bed I found him on,” Pippa said, “where you’re sitting now.” A part of me wished I’d found him then, cold and still, to help me know—really know—that he was gone.