There Is No Answer

by bdhesse

I turn to hear the whispers a bit better, but it’s no use. They’re too quiet. Something’s wrong. I know it is. I can’t hear the words, but I can hear the tone. Something terrible has happened, and I don’t know what.
It’s silent know. The talking has stopped. As I listen, I hear a set of footsteps making their way back up the stairs. A few more minutes pass.
He walks back into the room, but he doesn’t come back to bed. It’s too early to get up, but he just stands there confused.
He starts passing then. He walks back and forth, picking things up and putting them down again. Is he trying to pack? We’re not supposed to leave until this evening.
“Did you hear what happened?” he asks.
I shake my head. How could I? I think. You were whispering.
“My father’s dead,” he says coldly. No, not coldly. His voice shook a little. He begins stuffing things in the bag. “We have to go back.”
I’m already getting up. I know we have to go back. I stand up, but I’m not sure what to do.
He finally stops. His lip quivers as he looks at me. “Why did he die?” he asks as the tears finally begin to stream from his eyes.
“I don’t know,” I say as I walk over to embrace him.
Why did he die? I think. We just saw him. He was healthy. Well, maybe not as healthy as he could have been. But he was happy. He was 49. Why did he die?
He’s talking fast now as he weeps into my shoulder. He’s not making a whole lot of sense. He’s confused. “Why did he die?” he asks again.
“I don’t know.” It’s all I can say. I don’t know. I don’t know.
He’s calm now. He stands up again. “We have to go,” he says.
I nod. We get ready. And we leave.