“Hello, and welcome to our lab,” Dr. Koslow said, radiating confidence and pride.
“Let me walk you through what will happen. You and I will go into the chamber and get comfortably seated in the two chairs. Adrian will hook us up to the monitors and, as we go through the synchronized-sound sequence, he’ll use the monitors to track everything that’s happening to our physical bodies. Physiologically, it will resemble sleep. But it’s not. Also, I can assure you that you will be in good hands. He and I have both done this many times.”
I wanted to believe him, and again I had the impression of a calm, steady pilot. But no matter what he said I still had that chattering sensation in my teeth and felt as if tremors were going off in my body.
I worried: Could I overcome my fears and do this? Or would I completely wash out? Would I get “out,” only to be unable to get back in? Connie had spent hours preparing me for this, showing me how to focus on my breathing and quiet my monkey mind, but… I still felt so utterly unprepared. And my questions persisted: How would I know Gregory? What would he look like? Would he see me? Could we touch? What if I didn’t want to leave?
Connie moved close to me and slid her arm through mine.
“I know you’re still scared,” she said. “Just trust the process and do the best you can.”
“How can you be here one minute and not the next?” I cried out silently.
It happens. Just happens.
Only nights before, we’d slept together in this bed, entwined like grapevines. Skin to moist skin after making love. With my hand resting on his chest, I’d felt his heart beating. Oh sweet, excruciating memory. My mind flashed on the movie where a grieving Superman rolls back time by flying around the earth so fast he reverses events and Lois Lane comes back to life. I wanted that. Wanted to do that. Desperately. I understood Superman’s anguish.
To never see Gregory alive again. Never touch him or be touched by him. Never engage in our repartee. Share our private jokes and knowing glances. Never see him burst through the door. Never smell grill smoke in his hair. Never get called away from tossing a salad to come quick and see a sunset. Never feel our nakedness beneath the covers. “Never” is the mantra of grief: Never. Never. Never. Never. Never.