By Jordan Rosenfeld.
“For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.” –Elie Wiesel
New Years Day, somewhere after two a.m., my boyfriend and I had barely fallen to sleep when the unwelcome shrill of the phone awakened us. In that gray, dreamlike state, eyes gummy and hearts hammering, alarm zigged up my spine. Erik bolted up in bed, gasping awake, as though the animal instinct in his body knew what news the caller bore, an anguished string of words spewed into my ear by his younger brother: “Our dad is dead.”
His father was fifty-six years old. Erik, only thirty-two.
As I tried to collect facts of where to take him, Erik shook his head over and over again. “It can’t be.” His words strangled tears. “He just left me a message about having dinner tomorrow night.”
Bleary with fatigue, and disoriented by low-hanging January fog, I took the long way to the hospital. Erik pounded his palms on the dashboard and moaned “We should have gone down College Avenue,” as though we could somehow beat the bad news ahead of us and arrive to find his father still alive.