Author's Note: This may be bad because I wrote almost all of it at midnight. But it's the quickest I ever finished a story. Anyway, thanks for reading! Have a fantastic day!
Nothing has been the same since you left.
After I went through the five stages of grief, as they call them, each step blurred together by the tears, I was numb. I didn’t heal, I just got better at hiding the pain. The therapist I talk to online every week has tried to help, telling me I must learn to see the brighter aspects of my life. But I’ve found my own ways to cope.
I try to keep the memories of you out of my head, despite how impossible that has proven to be. How can I love something so much, when it brings me so much pain? I don’t know. Maybe if you were here you could help me understand.
I want to forget, to spare myself the struggle, but everything I see these days reminds me of you. The embroidered bracelet you gave me that you crafted in summer camp, I still wear it around my wrist.
Without you, every color seems a little dull. Mixing together into a bleary grey. The cereal I eat for breakfast tastes bland, and the crossword puzzles on the box are no longer so exciting.
The greek myths I loved to read no longer capture my attention the same way they did when you were here. I resonate with the gods and goddesses in a different way than I used to. Hades, the god of the underworld. Ares, the god of war. Nyx, the goddess of night. Oizys, the goddess of misery, grief, anxiety, and depression.
The paintings I always loved look different than when you were here. Especially the abstract ones. Somehow the shapes find a way to taunt me. Their innocent curves and edges forming haunting scenes of death in my cursed mind.
I can’t make it through school without you, all it is is one missing assignment after another. When I turn in one late project, five more take its place. Without your help, I’m struggling to keep up.
The first week after you left, when our school was still going to class online, I hid behind the screen. I would keep my face showing, trying to be a perfect student, until thoughts of you started to creep up. I would flip off my camera then, concealing the tears welling up in my eyes.
And when I fall asleep at two o’clock in the morning, my night filled with restless tossing and turning under the blankets, my pillow is soaked in tears. The barriers I’ve put up in my mind to try to keep your ghost out aren’t strong enough.
I’ve started a new project, though. If I’m lucky, it might give me a head start on moving on. To make it at all possible.
I have six squares hand sewed already, and many more to come. Six pictures representing our time together, and all that will come next. They each bring back dreaded memories, but maybe they’ll help me sort through things.
The first square? A plump, juicy lemon, flawlessly sliced. Each wedge of the lemon perfectly lined up. Zig zagging in a circle.
In honor of all the memories I have with you where we set up a picnic on the bridge over the river near our home. Snacking our bright orange carrot sticks, salty crackers, and cheese as we watched the currents rush by barely a few feet beneath our bare toes.
Holding clear plastic cups filled with lemonade, our favorite refreshing drink. The sticky sugary syrup coating our lips as we grinned, laughing and joking about the events of the past week. The sun reflecting off the ice in our cups, turning the surface a shiny silver color.
I won’t give up that memory.
The second square, a scallop shell. Magnificent rich colors of red, orange, and yellow contrasting against the pearly white. Reminding me of the countless trips we spent on the beach, running through the sand until the tide retreated and the sun set before our eyes.
The salty ocean waves washing over our feet as we made our way down the shore, bending down to pick up a pebble or seashell every few feet. Doing cartwheels through the wide-open, landing on our heads and coating our hair in sand.
Those evenings were beautiful, just you, me, and the ocean.
The third square, a hardbound book with a frayed golden bookmark sticking out halfway through. Bringing back memories of late nights spent curled up in fleece blankets, heavy stories open on our laps. Flipping through the pages in sync with each other. Journeying off to faraway worlds together.
There is no one else I would want to go on an adventure with, only you.
The fourth square, a bronze penny. Like the ones we would line up on the tracks waiting for the rusty train to come around the corner. Then you and I would find them again the next day, flattened as thin as foil and covered in imprints of the train’s wheels.
It was always sweet how fascinated you were by that, running your finger over the ridges in the metal. I wish I could do that again with you.
The fifth square had a picture of a mask. Made out of the very material that covered your face for nearly a year, that wasn’t enough to keep you safe. You took all the precautions you were supposed to, it shouldn’t have been you. Why couldn’t it have been someone else?
I don’t want to remember those long, lonely nights I spent wishing I could see you in the hospital. The spreading pandemic preventing me from visiting you as you lay hooked up to a thousand different machines keeping you breathing.
I wish there was something I could have done, but even I know that once you started coughing you weren’t going to stop.
The sixth square, this one is for me. To tell myself that things will get better eventually. A blooming flower in a world of snow, the only living thing in sight. The frost coasts its petals, turning the bright colors to a lighter pastel.
There’s still life inside of me, still hope. Maybe your memories can be something different now, something that lifts me up instead of breaks me down.
I miss you, and I always will.
But I will continue to live, for you.