i am folding you one thousand paper cranes because it is all we have left.
legend says that if i fold one thousand paper cranes, i will get a wish. i could wish for a pair of iridescent wings or an ocean in a teacup or just to finally be happy again, but i don't want any of that--with every crane i fold i am imagining you. one crane for the circles under your eyes, one crane for your jutting ribs, one crane for every seizure.
i love you and you're dying and i will run out of paper trying to fold your broken pieces into birds.
you drew me a picture of us in the future.
our houses were next door to each other and a white picket fence separated our property and oh god, it made me curl into a ball and ache for hours. see, in a perfect world, the clouds would always be fluffy and our mailboxes would always be full of hand-drawn pictures and our smiles would be lopsided but permanent.
i hung it on my refrigerator as a reminder that there is still hope, but paper is so fragile and i am afraid that someday it might be nothing more than smears.
we both want to name our sons isaac and neither of us paint our fingernails. we have the same middle name and we finish each other's sentences.
sometimes people tell us that we are the same person: the only difference is that you're terminally ill and i'm just terminally guilty.
one night i asked my boyfriend what would happen, and he let me toss fitfully on the too-small bed and cry all over his collar.
"we'll go to her funeral," he told me. "and we will cry. and whenever we are all together, we will think about her and how much we love her and we will smile. it will be okay."
so i will keep telling you that until one of us believes it. it will be okay, it will. it has to.
(it might not be, but i cannot imagine you gone. i want a white picket fence and graphite clouds and strings of origami veiling every window in your house).
in the end neither paper cranes nor poetry will keep you alive, but i have to try.
i have to try.