I thought I saw you on the evening train today. Your hair was flowing, red and fiery like it normally was. Except it had a different shine to it this time like you had moved on – like you weren’t looking back…except you did look over your shoulder – a glance – to adjust the strap that was slipping off. It… wasn’t you, though. The smile cascaded to a frown and I turned to look at someone else’s stranger.
I considered burning the rest of your clothes your mother didn’t ask for (I couldn’t bring myself to do it). I sat in the vintage yellow seats of our kitchen instead, drinking strawberry tea out of your chipped green cocoa mug and staring at the starfish above the window in place of your mother. I considered shattering the cup, since she didn't ask for it either. I couldn't bring myself to do it. She didn’t know what she was doing. if she had, she would’ve taken all of you from me. I know she couldn’t have known.
Margaret called me afterwards; not hours, but a couple of silent weeks. It made me smile in the dark morning of the kitchen. She said, “April, sweetheart, I’m so sorry.” Why was she sorry? What did you do? I didn’t ask. I thought it’d be better to leave that to you. Hearing her voice was almost like feeling your arms around me again. My lips smiled but I don’t think my heart did.
I woke up yearning to kiss the peach from your mouth. After all this time it’s still difficult to open my eyes and face the day, but this morning seemed impossible. The sheets weighted themselves down on my chest like snow on a roof, silent and troublesome. The warmth was a false sense of security for the emptiness of your side of the bed. Harsh sun greeted my eyes that sought shade in the early hour and our black kitten who is no longer a baby still sleeps curled on your pillow, leaving space for your head next to his, waiting for you too.
Have you seen The Virgin Suicides? Listened to Death Cab for Cutie? You adored films and stated that music was your life. But was it?
“What lingered after you was not life, but the most mundane, trivial list of facts. A ticking clock on the wall, a room dim at the start of the evening, the outrageousness of a human being thinking only of herself.”
“And the soles of your shoes are all worn down the time for sleep is now; it’s nothing to cry about 'cause we'll hold each other soon in the blackest of rooms.”
You weren’t the base of undivided attention from prepubescent high school boys. You weren’t some estranged, beautiful, yet vague character in a song. You were vibrant, tenacious, confident and stubborn and imperfect and I loved you for that. Except… except you gave portions of yourself to me that I didn’t ask for but needed and they sneak up when I’m having conversations and it annoys the hell out of me.
I have been instructed to tell you my final words and thoughts. However that is not what I have been doing so far. Although, what I’ve accomplished without you is staggering, and I know you already know but lists are supposed to help:
• Washed and hung the sheets to dry
• Bought my cat a new collar
• Repainted the kitchen chairs
• Started smiling at strangers
• Gave your clothes to Goodwill
• Invested in a twin mattress
• Called your mom
• … And shoveled the snow from the roof
(P.S: I’ve finally been able to look at the bridge on my way to work. Today its friends were clouds instead of you. I don’t know when it will be that I’ll be able to drive on it again, but maybe soon.)