By Brian C. Baer
We heard you walked down to the basement and held the cold barrel beneath your chin. Your parents still have pictures of you throughout the house, but down here, the only thing to remind us of your presence is that small hole in the ceiling.
We rolled out our sleeping bags below that mark in the old drywall and lay still, staring up all night. We never spoke. I don’t know, maybe we thought we could hear from you down there where you had stood, that maybe you would do the talking. We had questions, and your parents avoided the topic as a kind of make-believe coping method.
Dawn slowly rolled over the horizon, brightening the basement through a small window nestled against the ceiling. Our ears had become so trained in the moonlight that we picked up every creaking floorboard, every wind gust, every breath from the person next to us, and could, if only for a second, pretend it came from you.
As we could hear your parents moving around upstairs, we all sat up and looked at each other in silence. We had come to you for answers, for explanation, but again you had told us nothing.