We arrived solemnly at a day masquerading as romance. I emerged from the people carrier and ingested the familiarity of the place; Langdon Woods. Now, those pathways are dug into my palms. Deep trenches scratched into the whorls of my fingertips. Reminders of where I've been.
We walked for a while, hand in hand. You pointed out cashmere blankets of bluebells that bowed their heads as we marched past. I saw them repeat infinitely, a kaleidoscopic tessellation of my many copies of this memory, each slightly different (some faded and well worn). I remembered the bluebells infused with the smell of you.
After a time, we grew weary. Sweat bubbled onto our skin until our hands could no longer grasp. I rested. Sat on a worn smooth log bench facing the town where we lived, I ate, and drank, and filled myself with thoughts of you.
You had other places to be and went quicker than I, I couldn't make my body match yours and I lost you. The woods felt heavier, and the trees waved to me, trying to tempt me to go backwards. The leaves gossiped of me, they hissed their lies to the bluebells who now turned their faces away to speak of Eurydice.
I could not catch you. I fell in my distress, tumbled over a pile of stones and in the fuss they spilled over me. I lay in the dust and cried for a while. I did not understand your sudden departure. When I realised that I was alone with the sun setting weightily upon me I shook off the stones and crawled to my feet. My anxious hands attempted to brush the dirt out of my skin, to dig it out, to shake it off, but still it marked me, so I pressed onwards; decorated with my descent.
It only took two corners to find sunlight again, here I rested again for a moment and you found me again.
You knew I was tired but would not allow me to remain. You guided me forward and we began to climb the steep incline. The taurus cluttered around us but did not harm us with their lazy looks. We struggled and staggered, so great was the hill. It stole the breath from me as I pushed my mortal body further and further.
When we reached the peak you stood back to let me see the view, the vast collision of sky and sea blurring blue. I could see the town again, off-kilter clusters of stone stewing in sea salt and nostalgia. I could see far off places on the other side of the water's body, places I longed to know.
I took in a gulp of frosted air and turned to meet you. Settled beneath a wiry tree you slept. I could not rouse you but I had gotten used to talking to you when you couldn’t reply. I knelt down as if in prayer, in my own way I was, and cried.
It was a big pain that followed me whenever I came to this place. It was a heart strangler and my paper body fumbled clumsily to keep going. The great escape! My tears ran out.
I flattened a section of grass down, remembering the times our father carried you here. I placed three pinecones on the altar, remembering the countless times that you carried me. I added baby flowers in yellow, eighteen shy little stars to remember you by. Sat in a cradle of sky and earth with the sea smashing into the side of the cliff, an ever present and real threat to take me too, I often wished it would unite us. I unlocked my chest plate and fished between my ribs until I could wrangle something out of my voice box. "I miss you" it said, and that was all, because there were no words colossal enough, no volume boisterous enough, for you to hear me.
I poured my misery and grief over the offerings, swamping your grave with my congealed and slithering depression.
As my shudders grew weaker I wiped my face and said goodbye, another annual goodbye for the scrapbook. Your hand was on my shoulder again as I rose and turned to look out across the water plains. The ocean churned and groaned a leaden murmur of change. The sun dried the streams on my cheeks and I thought that one day my tears would merge with your long lost ashes and together drop into that same sea. I wondered if I would ever return here and, answering my unspoken thought, you pulled me into the tight embrace of the sudden wind, and after that I was alone again. I walked away and whilst I looked back often, I knew that you must remain in that high ground while I pursue the fluid horizon. We would meet again, but not yet.