By Michael Fischer

May 1, 2017


Anthony’s text just says, “YES.” I’ve decided to change my flight to Boston, to move it up five days. He’s floundering, just doesn’t sound right; the 25th could be too late. Sooner. Have to get there sooner.

I text him to let him know: “Changing my flights. Coming the 20th instead, gives us the weekend to see if we can’t lift your spirits.”

“YES,” he writes back. That’s all, just like that. All caps.

On the 17th, he kills himself.

Our iMessage conversation becomes one-sided after YES, those three letters a dividing line between his life and death. A stack of green bubbles dated the 18th, then the 19th; his phone is off. Maybe he didn’t pay the bill, now that he lost his job. I’m packing to go see him by the time I learn he’s gone. I fold myself down to the floor to keep my heart inside my chest.

I avoid reading my last few anxious texts: calling out in the dark to ask where he wants to go to dinner, does he still think he can pick me up? Instead I scroll, moving backwards, rewinding to when he was still alive. Back to YES.

Positive, life-affirming, unequivocal and loud. I read it over and over and over again, this perfect parting word, the least and last he could do.

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