Wander

“Every sunrise, each sunset has been shared with you in one way or another. You’re gone from my arms, but you’re never far from my mind. I just have to close my eyes and I’m with your ghost. As cold as the memories may feel, my heart is warmed by your smile for a moment.

You wanted me to laugh and smile, you liked how it made my eyes seem brighter. You wanted me to leave my tears at your grave, and I’ve done that.

Every first Tuesday of the month I visit, and drown you with memories that pool at the edges of my eyelashes before they’re swept away. I like to think my tears carry them to you, wherever that may be.
 
I know, I promised I’d go forward in life, holding the hand of someone I love. I’m sorry for lying, but I just can’t let go, not yet. I’m still living in these moments of time that seem to pause on occasion, and I still carry your picture.
 
Every time I pull it out of my pocket it smudges the image a little more and I know I’ll be ready when your eyes fade from the paper. They stare back at me, and I can’t help but wonder what you think of all of this, what you think of the mess I’ve made of our life.
 
I thought you’d always be here and I’m not mad at you for leaving. I know how afraid you were to leave, you’d get that crease in your forehead every time we talked about it. You told me, that night, that my purpose was to heal them, the broken-hearted. You said I did that for you.
 
I’ve never chosen to live alone, before you there was always someone else to lean on. I’ve never had to walk a path in the dark without your hand in mine because you somehow knew the way. I’m lost. I’m lost, and I think I’m okay with that. I won’t pretend I’m not afraid, you always saw through me anyway.
 
I’ve only known how to live life through experiences with you next to me, and maybe I should learn to live a new life. I feel so numb all the time, but this morning I watched the sun rise over the mountain and I felt alive as I took my first breath without you. I want to experience life again and I’m okay with wandering alone, for now. I’ll find my way to you, someday.”
 
She lit the wick of her vintage lamp placing it on the small table beside her. She read those words aloud as the last sliver of sunlight was chased out of the sky by the faint light of the moon. The air carried a chill, bringing a crispness to the memories of walking through rainy London streets in the fall while her mom disappeared into her photo editing software.
 
She rarely let her mind wander to that time, it was always cold and the rain always left a loneliness in her soul, the kind that lingered long after they moved back to the states. She felt restless there, alone, emptied of the sunshine from the desert sun that brightened her hometown.
 
You’d think it would be a dream for a small town girl to move to a place like London, and she started out with an air of excitement that soon left as life settled. Her spark slowly faded as she longed for long summer nights at the local burger stand. Her friends laughter no longer tickled her lips into the bright smile she was known for.
 
There in the city she was just another out-of -place American girl, drowning in a sea of british accents and misplaced assumptions of how she should act. London held a darker kind of beauty, one she wasn’t familiar with and never quite learned to appreciate. She was too young or maybe too afraid to embrace her time there, but at the young age of 14 she didn’t care to understand.
 
She never missed it, the rain. It was so frequent that it washed away everything her heart held onto. The grey skies brought out a sadness in everyone. Her mom spent nights in her room, trying to conceal her tears, but swollen eyes and red cheeks gave her away. She never asked why she cried, she didn’t really speak to her mom anymore. She still blames the move, they drifted apart that year and never fully recovered.
 
A dog barking in the distance pulled her focus back to the setting sun and her sense of home was renewed. She drew in a deep breath, taking in the scent of dust and newly rusting leaves as she wiped a single tear from the corner of her eye.
 
“I miss you, mom.”