No one noticed she was gone. Or if they did, they said nothing about it. She left long before she left.
The light went out of her eyes first. She told those she was close to she felt tired, that her body hurt all the time. Her words left next. She had no energy, no desire to communicate. Then her physical presence left. Her presence at functions, her presence through phone or correspondence – people knew she was still there, but they took her silence as needing to be alone. Her closest friends reached out, to be met with silence.
She didn’t blame them. No one wants to be around negativity. Sadness is insidious. It reaches into the core of a person like a cancer. Or perhaps that was just her. She told someone far away, too far away to be of any physical assistance, she couldn’t fight any longer. It was safe to tell him because he couldn’t intervene.
It’s how she left their minds, how one is forgotten. People take comfort for themselves in pulling the blanket over it, telling themselves a person simply needs time alone and they’ll be okay. The world becomes an ordinary place without that voice. It’s how we leave before we leave.
No one noticed she was gone, or that she didn’t return. Except the one person who couldn’t help. He noticed, and he called and reached, he fought for her. But when a person wants to drown, when they cross the threshold into there being nothing good left, their hearing goes, too.
There’s nothing anyone can do. We walk our path alone. We live alone. We die alone. But if we’re very fortunate, we will be missed.