My heart clenches as the seconds click by, closer and closer to that moment when I know that there’s nothing left to do but hold your breath to keep from crying. I hate that I cry. I just want to hold on tight, pull you against me so that you won’t leave. I need you to stay, I need you to keep me from feeling as if I am a frightened bird fluttering against the wind. I need you to be there and never let go.
Trying to be brave. I know that the tears make me feel like a small child, but they well up under my lids and I know they are there. I am not ready to turn around and walk away, to get in the car and let it take me away from you. I am not ready to move forward in my life and accept any of this as the way it has to be! This isn’t fair, you shouldn’t have to go. I don’t want to wake up from this dream!
Pressing my lips together, I keep them from saying the things I want to say. I always tend to ramble when I hear myself start to lose control of my words. I want to be eloquent, but more often come out incompetent. It’s always so much easier to let my fingers sort through the thoughts in my head. I can control what escapes from my heart. But right now I just have to press my lips together and swallow back the desire to say that I don’t want you to leave! I don’t want you to get on that plane and leave me here! I don’t want to feel what I know is coming next.
It’s always silent, those first few minutes. As if everything numbs and I just need to find a way to adjust. I want to reach back, I want to redial the phone and hear your voice once more. I want your laughter and I need you to come back and make me sure that you will return. I am never sure, this part of me that isn’t ever really sure anyone will return. Why am I so afraid of being alone?
You remind me that this is the way it has to be and I nod as I know. I scowl at the idea, the knowing of this reality. I feel my skin as it searches for traces that you were there, a memory of touch. I don’t want to feel this way. I want to be strong and brave! I want to be able to walk away with my cockiness showing with each step away from you. I want you to look back, I want you to stand there and watch me walk away and ache to have me back.
The time is almost here and I know that you feel something too by the way you look down at your phone and check the time. There’s a look that passes quickly over your face, is it the same frustration and nervous ache that I feel? Or are you ready to go?
We move slower, as if trying to draw out the minutes so that we can feel more in those 60 seconds than any other day when we are waiting for time to pass faster. You look out the window and make small talk and I nod and make noises as if I am actually thinking of what you are saying not the whispers of my own thoughts. You tell me that it won’t be long and I nod and try to tell myself that too. But I know that once I let go, I won’t be able to pull you back and you will be gone.
I want to capture the sound of your voice, replay it over and over in my head as I prepare myself for the release. I can do this… I can let go and find a routine without you in it. I could do anything if I weren’t so damned happy to spend every day listening to your stories and laughing with you over silly things we have seen together. I could move to that beach house and write my novel, I could write a dozen novels if not for the time I spend with you. But I wouldn’t trade a single day.
Then it is here, that time. Time to let go and walk. Let go and move forward.
I don’t want this.
I curse under my breath as I try to tell myself that this is silly and I need to be tough. Everyone leaves, everyone moves on, everyone dies.
I don’t want to let go.
One foot in front of the other and I start to move again. I find the music on the radio and dial to something that will draw my attention away from the pain and growling words of my inner rants. The music starts to soothe and I am drawn away from my hurt and led gently to something else.
You will come back? Won’t you?
I know I’ll wait. I always wait for far too long. I keep that hope alive that somehow I am worth coming back to. You will find me, wherever I have wandered and wrap your arms around me tightly and pull me into your embrace. You’ll make everything feel better and kiss away my tears. You will softly press your lips against my neck and I can feel the heat of your breath warming me.
You’ll laugh as I hold on tight and allow me a few more minutes of this peaceful place. Nothing will feel as good as when you return. That simple moment will start to erase the memory of the leaving. Slowly things start to feel whole again and I am drawn back into the world of the living.
For a moment I start to think that this isn’t so bad, that there is always the return to make it all feel better. I swallow and nod as I try to keep this thought up front as you let go and slip away from me. If not for the leaving there would be no returns.
My heart beats louder and I hold my breath…