He mounted the stairs. I imagine him, in this moment, calling out my uncle's name. It is said when he entered my uncle's bedroom, he exclaimed: "Oh, c'mon Bill!"
Later, he and my dad would strip the sheets of my uncle's bed. My dad told me later that there was blood on them.
Aneurysms aren't supposed to be genetic but I'll never know; the moment it hits I'll be dead. Maybe it's better to be alone in such moments.
I'm upstairs before the funeral; I am alone in the house. I eye the Advil on the bathroom counter. Headaches come before the final rupture.
He arrives at the house, and I hear him like in my imagination of the moments before death, coming up the stairs.
He asks me how old I am.
I imagine this moment in a different way: the snow trickling down out of the grey sky, sheets of oblivion. The winter my uncle died was beautiful. I could taste the snow as it fell. That was before I told him.
My answer was, of course, my real age.
There are moments that define enter seasons of my life. There is the creak of the stairs that had held my uncle before his arteries built to a crescendo, the drifts of snow almost blocking the driveway on our way to the house to identify his body.
One day, I will remember that age differently. I will have changed.
I will hear the creak on the stairs, and I will remember what it feels like to be innocent and alone.