When she says black funk she’s not talking about a musical genre. It’s her euphemism for depression. Everything about her becomes quieter. The voice softens to a whisper, and then pops like a soap bubble. She moves less; even when walking down the street she appears to be standing still. Her blood slows, her eyes blink once a day and then once a week. She goes about her day and her life in this hibernation, a gradual paralysis working from brain to achilles.
Sometimes, as we walk together, she will randomly stop and trace her finger over the craggy lines of brick walls. Her feet never cross over the gaps between paving slabs. She talks without saying anything. She hears without listening. Holding her on the couch, as we stare at a blank TV screen, she buries herself into the crook of my arm. And yet, I still check every five minutes that she is still there. I expect at any moment for her form to disappear like mist in the morning sun, leaving just a stain of memory on my shirt and the flesh of my upper arm, a point where my skin cells whirlpool around each other in a frenzy, pushing to connect with hers.
When she emerges, she smiles and insists we go for ice cream at the retro 50’s diner. Translucent, I see the red and white checkered wall tiles behind her, in her cheeks. Gradually, through spoonfuls of frozen sugar, she comes back to me.