Before this sentence escapes my lips, this moment will have become past tense.
It will have happened, no longer be happening.
But people are more than single moments and
Most will survive this sentence.
We are happening. We haven’t happened.
But what about the people who become past tense?
And what about those left in the present tense, fighting not to capsize under the weight of all the conjugations they never wanted to make?
What do you do when your present tense love is only reciprocated in memory?
I love him.
He loved me.
In Spanish class, I conjugated el es to el fue, not realizing I was transcribing loss. I thought I was memorizing test answers, not holding worlds in the tip of my pencil, but I can tell you, on July 5th at 1:42 p.m., when my dad went from fighting cancer to having fought, grammar had nothing to do with it.
Fighting, fighting, fighting, fought.
You never realize present tense is a gift until it’s ripped from your hands. Until every conversation forces you to stare conjugations in the eye, to decide if you’re strong enough to pull out the words everyone is waiting for.
You develop a stutter, even if it only happens in your heart.
Your heartbeat wears his fingerprint, but you wish your skin could wear his hug, and your words could wear his, “now.”
But you can’t and so your now is now is cloaked in present tense grief so intense you forget to breath, forget to inhale, forget to live. But before you fade completely, you see, shimmering in the distance, a beautiful truth: that when he was here, he present tense loved you too.
And you breathe.