The single, pale cherry blossom petal lays before me, asking me a world of questions.
Ignoring its voice, I instead choose a moment of fantastical hope.
He has been here. He walked into this room, the petal is testament to his continuing presence in the world. Only he could convey the petal to this place and press it to the cold tile on the kitchen floor, pinning it there for me to discover.
A subtle love note to his beloved.
It is fitting, that petal is for me, and only me.
The petal is a messenger, it brings with it glad tidings of his return. The petal is a challenge; I was mistaken. Renewed hope unfurls within me and I am alive again.
I flee from the kitchen, flitting from room to room, pollenating each place I visit with the hope I have been gifted by that magical petal. I burst into the final room. The bedroom that was once ours remains a hollow and empty place. The black dress lays upon the duvet. It is a warning. A reminder that I faded into nothingness after the torture of his funeral.
He is gone, and he took the best part of me with him.
He went into the ground and I became a ghost.
My mind casts back to the moment that he named me Bee. He smiled indulgently and called me his busy, buzzy bee, and that was that. I was his Bee forever more. I raced around his calming presence and he smiled and smiled as though time would afford us a lifetime together. But time is fickle. Time does not care for me, and it did not care for him. The tragedy of bees is that they sting but once. A single act and no taking it back, not ever. Oh, why can’t I remember the moment that I lost my sting, and the life that came with it?
How can this be?
I bear witness upon the empty reality of my life and my legs betray me, going from under me and conveying me to the floor. I weep until I think there can be nothing more left in me, and then there is nothing. I drift away.
He comes to me in my dream. I know it is him as he gathers me in his arms and makes me whole again. He brings me back to myself. I know it is him, these are his words and no one else could say them.
“You know you’re being stupid right now, don’t you?”
Ever practical, he does not waste a single word. He never wasted his words. There was no need. Words were precious to him, he always got straight to the point. For my part, I always, always felt myself react. I wanted more. I wanted the preamble. I wanted him to work harder. To display the effort that would show me I was worthy of his love. I wanted to tell him he was wrong. I wanted to tell him to stop being so right…
“That’s not…” I begin.
“…a nice thing to say?” he smiles his warming smile and any chance that I could accuse him of mockery dissolves in the depths of his smiling eyes.
“I want…” I begin again.
“What you can’t have,” he smiles again. I lived for those smiles. He was the sun that warmed me and brought me out into the world.
This time, I am not having it, and I speak regardless of the cost of my words, “can you stop finishing my sentences?!”
And then he is gone.
Just like that. No warning. No second chance. I pushed him away and my last words were not words I would ever have chosen to be the very last words I would say to the only man I ever loved. I loved that man with all of my heart and the entirety of my being.
He will never finish another of my sentences, and I don’t know what to say anymore.
I awake to darkness. The darkness is fitting, as is my place on the floor beside a bed that he once filled with his presence. Here was where I was the safest I have ever been. Here was where I felt loved.
This was once home.
There is a faint aroma of that now. I can smell him in this place. The reminder cuts me to the quick. I lay there, rolling onto my back, staring at a ceiling alien to the one that once held all my hopes and dreams.
I lay there until the sun paints this room with its light. I lay there until the intensity of the sun’s light invades my thoughts and eases me from a place I need to move on from. Begrudgingly, I rise to my feet. I pad to the window and look out upon the garden that we once shared.
Through the unreal lens of the window, out into the garden, is the cherry tree in full bloom. His cherry tree. He loved that tree, and I never fully understood that love, until now. The tree in bloom was a transitory moment that always brought us both so much joy. He was the conduit of that joy, and I opened up to him and received it in its entirety. Once, we wrote poems about that tree. Young lovers dwelling in a place of beauty that could never last, and yet now I find it right there in my heart, it exists still, and with it a promise of something more.
I roll down the stairs and out into the Springtime garden. My bare feet wet with dew. The cool breeze eliciting unnoticed goosebumps on my flesh. I burrow my toes into the cold earth to be a little closer to my love, and I gaze into the heart of the blossom. I stand there and I write another poem. I write it upon my broken heart.
Then it is time. All things have their time, and now I say goodbye to what was, and I accept the world all over again, and as though for the very first time. I accept who it is that I now am, and I finally know what it is that I must do.
I must live.
I must open up like those buds and seek the light, and I must follow the shards of my shattered heart, however much it may hurt. I must push against the tide. I must do what he made me promise to do.
I am the fulfilment of the promise I made to him.
I will do this for him and in time, I know I will be doing it for myself.
I will be myself, however far from that I feel right now. He knew I could do this, and he wants this for me. He wanted it with all his heart.
I step forth and I gently pluck a petal from the cherry tree. I sit it on my fingertip, then I bring it to my lips.
“I love you,” I whisper into the breeze, and the petal is launched out into the world.
I watch as the wind catches its fragility and takes the petal away from the garden, onwards and towards an adventure that is not for me.
The ceremony is done.
Reluctantly, I take my phone and I make the call.
The taxi arrives an hour later.
I don’t look back as the driver pulls away from the kerb and we head to the airport.
I will never come back to this place. I cannot. That was then, and there is a now that awaits me on the other end of a flight. There is another life that I will step into, tentatively at first, but more boldly with each and every step.
This time I will not be alone.
I will never be alone.
He is with me more in this moment than I could ever imagine, and I smile to myself as I feel two shards of my heart come together and reunite. The healing has already begun. I will be stronger with every step of this journey. I will make him proud.
I already have.
My next adventure awaits. The petal thin page has turned and I write the next chapter of my life. I will give everything that I have and everything that I am to be worthy of it.
I give thanks. I will give thanks each and every day for the Spring of our lives together. Now it is time to grow out into the world…