I could tell you a hundred times in French: Il est mort, il est mort, il est mort. Something about my disconnect from the language, because I am not yet fluent, makes it feel as if when I say things they are simply translations, not facts. Not real people slipping out of my life.
I am in the beginning stages of grief, mourning the death of a twenty-seven year old coworker, vingt-sept ans, too few years.
Now, I think what I should have done: visited more, called, begged the God I’m not sure I believe in, but he did. I know the time will come when I realize he is gone, il est mort, and the English will come to be spoken and the French will become more real.
For now I want to keep Donell in the realm of broken French. I am still learning; when I have finished, the words will be as true in French as in English, les vrais mots, and I am not ready.
Elizabeth Farschon is a second year student at Virginia Commonwealth University where she is studying English. She is testing the waters in nonfiction, but she usually writes poetry.