But he wasn’t breathing right. He heard her name in his head every time he tried to talk. And when he tried to write things down, all that came out was Anna. Anna, Anna, Anna, Anna. He took a pen and scrawled her name on his arm. Over and over. And with every line, he felt just a little better.
The walls in his room were bare. Anna, Anna, Anna, he wrote. Across, up and down, sideways along the window ledge. It helped, but not quite enough. Pen in hand, he headed outside.
It was autumn and leaves were everywhere. He picked one up, wrote Anna, and then dropped it and picked up another, and another, and another. He moved down the street. Through the neighborhood. Toward town. Anna.
Days went by and he needed new pens. He bought a box at the drugstore, writing Anna very small on the shelf under them. Then again in the next aisle. And the next, and the next, and the next.
Small pieces of paper, scraps, receipts, empty coffee cups in the trash. Anna, Anna, Anna. For days and weeks. He bought a second box of pens. And a third.
Snow covered the town so he wrote her name in it with his finger, his hand, his foot. His boots stamped it out. Anna and then again Anna.
Soon he didn’t need the pens. He said her name in his head and it appeared. In white on store windows, on top of street signs, carved into stone on the old buildings. Anna.
And with every Anna, he felt a little, just a little, better. But it still wasn’t enough. Anna. Sometimes he added extra n’s. Annnnnna. It felt like a little cry. Annnnnnnnnnna. With spring there were new leaves. When he looked up, every one said Anna – like he had changed their genetic code.
People were talking about him. He heard them speak softly. He knew they were saying something, but all he heard was Anna, Anna, Anna, Anna. He listened harder, Anna.
She heard. People talk. To be that important to someone else felt, felt, strange. It was so weird, but… She smiled to herself.
One day, there he was. Handing out green leaves, flower petals, sticks, and stones. With her name carved on them by his fingers. She could see it. Anna, Anna. Over and over.
She walked up to him. Stopped. “I’m here Tommy,” she said softly. “It’s me.”
He looked up. “No, it’s not you, it’s me,” he replied, and kept walking. He touched another leaf. “Tommy,” it said. Tommy, Tommy, Tommy.