Fact (unknown - 2016)

Fact was downed in battle, but the details stutter in, contradictory and strange. With no body, they tell me, closure is a challenge. They tell me it’s best to move on and start a new and smaller post-Fact life. How can I explain the specific and solid love that touches me still? Fact backed me up, convinced me I could trust my eyes and heart; fact got me out of every jam and took me to task. Fact never took my shit but also claimed and owned gaps as needed. I’m no idiot—I know the slip and slide of numbers, the partial story, or the sting of a lyrical line cut with logic’s blade. I know Fact was a thousand people, all the ancestors carried in iris and muscle. Fact was fallible, not some idol I worshipped. With a twitch of my shoulder or a pause, I could move Fact. And when I nudged Fact to consider a new view—say from the porch to the shaded park—we sat thigh to thigh and Fact turned to see vistas of detail, flower petal to pond’s trickle. Fact loved the world as it was, which is something you can say about nobody else but Jesus and Buddha.

And now there is a place here where Fact was. Was it an abduction? A bizarre ritual sacrifice? The slow dosing to render Fact muddled and a danger? An assassination of character, a nudge toward suicide, a one-two punch, a pay-off hit? The story itself unhinges, followed by my right to get a story at all. I stroke Fact’s birth certificate to remind myself of the details as recorded, as reported. Fact was never perfect, but Fact was mine. Maybe I’ll get one of those black flags and fly it in hopes that my prisoner of war is holed up in a cave, missing in action, missing in verb and noun and correlation to the concrete details. Will Fact bust out of some cell, emerge soul-shattered after torture but with a shadow of strength? How strong is Fact under interrogation and sheer brutality? Whether there’s a body or a being to be returned, I’ll wait for Fact to come to this house on this exact street, to these exact two arms, at a date and time still to be determined.

Sonya Huber is the author of five books, including three books of creative nonfiction: Opa NobodyCover Me: A Health Insurance Memoir, and Pain Woman Takes Your Keys: Essays from a Nervous System (forthcoming in 2017). Her other books include a textbook, The Backwards Research Guide for Writers: Using Your Life for Reflection, Connection, and Inspiration and The Evolution of Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Her work has been published in literary journals and magazines including The New York Times, Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, Fourth Genre, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Washington Post Magazine. She teaches in the Department of English at Fairfield University and in the Fairfield Low-Residency MFA Program.