E.J. Nash | Handbook of Grief
Step one: Sing the song you don’t remember
By the time she figures out how time travel works, she can’t believe it doesn’t have anything to do with black holes or spacetime or even quantum physics. It’s much easier than all that. She closes her eyes and hums the song that she once heard on the radio with Ally in the car. Ally, who didn’t know the words. Ally, who spoke with the east coast accent. Ally, who was lost in time. It’s easier to say “lost” than “dead.”
Step two: Scream with your body
She learns to jump across time by clenching her limbs, her arms her legs her feet her hands her eyes, and eventually her body doesn’t know where it is any more and now it can be anywhere. (She’s certainly not drunk in bed, no, of course not.) Time travel is overwhelming at first, so she chooses somewhere easy: in the library with the musty smell of books, sitting across from Ally, studying for another exam. She feels the fragileness of the paper beneath her fingertips and almost cries. She’s on page 57. That makes it real. It must be real, it must it must itmustitmust—
Step three: Deny
Sweat-stained sheets, stale air, a closed window with a galaxy swirling beyond the glass. If she doesn’t open her eyes then she’ll be okay.