rain and wind, lightning and thunder, snow and ice, dawn, dusk and moonlight — days dance by and become years before i realize they are gone. small whisper-green leaves drink sunlight greedily and strengthen into a roaring chorus in the treetops, only to weaken, drooping in a final defiant blaze of color before they drop, dead, to the ground. but up from death comes new life, and spring once again conquers winter. so runs the world away — and i, measuring out my life in coffee spoons, grow older.
how long has it been since you left? i’ve forgotten — truly, i have — because in my memory you have never gone.
do you remember the mornings? the cold, clear city light that spilled in through your windows? the silent drives to work, the more silent drives back home? the evenings, and the arguments, and the i’m-sorry-but-i’ll-never-tell-you-so reunions?
i do. and there’s the trouble.
summer is once more on the brink of invasion, mixing the urban perfume of hot asphalt, sewer smells and bus exhaust with petrichor and rose petals. the sun shines golden into the evening and fireflies light up the empurpled dusk. i find myself overwhelmed by nostalgia for what was, and what has never, in some secret seed of my soul, quite ceased to be.
summer was always your season.
i look at the past through golden eyes, so nothing seems unlovely, not even the worst days. and the best? more beautiful than they ever could have been.
i walk down the sun-warmed streets and everything sings of you, your aching presence and your gaping absence. there is part of you that is as much a part of me as i am myself, though you never offered and i never would have taken. but the moments in the morning, the unconscious moments before you woke and remembered everything your whiskey would never let you forget … those are mine. autumn and winter mute the memories until i wonder, after all, if i might not forget, but as spring runs into summer they re-emerge with technicolor vividness, and though i walk through the waking world i live more in the past than i presently can comprehend.
i want to lay this ghost of that-which-was, for that-which-might-have-been was never an option. i always knew but refused to acknowledge it.
you have been gone, you are gone, and you-as-you-really-are-has begun to fade from the memories of you as my fancy framed you, leaving a shell more hollow and more beautiful than you ever were.
i have been continually unkind to you, in your absence as well as your presence. if i could i would undo that part of the past, but what was, is, and there is no future for me to mar.
we said goodbye, and you are gone.
would that i could blow away my memories and they would float as easily as dandelion down on the summer breeze until they too are gone, lost in the sunset.
and it would have been worth it all, after all — after all this, and so much more.
she laid her pen down and stared a moment at the handwriting wandering over the page, then closed the blue-bound book and silently slipped it into the drawer.