I go through the five stages of grief every time you leave; by now I’m such an expert I can pass through them in record time. Denial – I search for you in music, in books, in dreams, in words, but you are nowhere to be found. Anger – I think how dare you how dare you how dare you how dare you how dare you how dare you how dare you? Bargaining – I apologize profusely for imaginary slights and consider leaving you offerings of whiskey and cigarettes to curry your favor. Depression – everything goes gray and silent and meaningless, and I stop writing completely. Acceptance – I realize this is it, this is the end, there’s nothing more to fear because the worst has actually happened and there’s nothing I can do about it. And then without warning you return, acting as if you’d never left me to fend for myself, and I am expected to play along. And I do, because the alternative is to risk you never returning and I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.