Amanda startled awake. She panicked before realizing that she was safe in her bedroom. Someone had tapped her shoulder, or so she thought. Her eyes darted around the room. Even though it was dark, she saw neither shadows nor any evidence that someone was there. She listened for any noises, but all was quiet. When her body calmed down and she came to her senses, she figured she must have been dreaming. Her phone was on the night stand next to her, and she reached for it. As she did, she felt something on top of it. Despite it being four in the morning, her curiosity had gotten the better of her. Amanda turned on the light. She blinked a few times as her eyes adjusted, and that’s when she saw it. It was nothing more than a white piece of paper. It was a normal sheet of printer paper that had been tri-folded. There was no envelope or any words on the outside. That’s odd, she thought. She didn’t remember putting it there, but maybe she had slept walked or something. She opened the paper and saw that it was a letter addressed to her. The words were neatly written in what seemed to be a gold gel pen. She laughed to herself because she remembered the crazy gel pen era. She began reading letter and couldn’t believe what she saw.
Dear Amanda Banana,
May I still call you that, or have I lost that privilege? It almost doesn’t feel right anymore, but if I don’t utter your name one more time, I fear I’ll lose you entirely. I want you to know, no, I need you to know that I’m sorry. They may be just hollow words, meaningless; they’ll break when you read them. I am at a loss; however, how else does one apologize? I could fill this page with one thousand words, and it wouldn’t fix the pain I’ve caused. No amount of balm will heal you entirely except time, I suppose, although you’ve probably heard that from too many well-intentioned people.
You tried to be stoic, but I know you better than that. The way your pink bottom lip protruded into a pout was ever so slight, unnoticeable to the untrained eye. The sparkle in your deep brown eyes vanished, and hints of tears gleamed in the corners. You waited until you were alone to breakdown. Then, the walls took a beating. You pounded and pounded until you were nothing but a heap on the floor. If I had been there, you would have never fallen. You’re angry with me. I don’t blame you. I would be angry too. You see, there’s a chasm between us now. It’s one of my own making. It wasn’t right, but alas, here we are. You are on one side, and I am on the other. It’s a Grand Canyon void. I wanted to take you there. You’ll have to go without me. Take lots of pictures. It’s beautiful. You’re beautiful. I’m sorry that your black dress dulled your vibrancy. It swallowed your petit frame, yet you’re strong. You’ll go on. I want you to live the rest of your life in color again.
You must know that I tried to fight for you, for us. I pray you don’t think I gave up. My boxing gloves were on, but my hands were useless. My helmet was on my head, but I wasn’t hurt there. My armor was insufficient for what ailed my body. I was defenseless. I’m not making excuses, but I fought hard. I won some battles, but the war was far greater than I could have imagined. My body was ravaged from the inside; it betrayed me. In the end, I was a shell of the man I used to be.
If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have made it as long as I did. You were my rock, and I am indebted to you. I never saw you complain, and you always had on a brave face. You were a comfort in my darkness. Remember when we went to the fair? I had never seen someone so good at dart balloons. I spent more on that big teddy bear than I would have at the store, but it was worth it to see you light up. With teddy in tow, you convinced me to ride on the rickety Ferris wheel. I never trusted carnival rides. When we got stopped at the top, you had to hold me tight to keep me from having a panic attack. You had to bear hug me. Get it? You know you loved my humor. The best part was your laugh. The minute I was back on solid ground, I kissed it. Your laughter was contagious and soon we were both on the ground in a fit of giggles. I am flying higher than the Ferris wheel now, but I am unafraid.
They say that as one dies, the last sense they lose is hearing. I could hear you. It may be the only time that I wasn’t selectively listening, just kidding. In all seriousness, I know you love me. I love you too. Don’t second guess your words or your actions because I am nothing but grateful to you. I’m grateful that I got to hear your angelic voice singing to me once last time reminding be to Be Not Afraid.
I will see you again, my love. Until then, I’m sorry for leaving you alone in the world. I’m sorry for dying. You do not need to grieve for me anymore. It’s okay to move on. My spirit will always be with you, but it’s okay to find new love. Remember me fondly, but don’t be sad. Words cannot adequately describe what it’s like here because it’s beyond what humans can fathom, beyond what we can sense on Earth. I can promise you this though, I am no longer in pain, and I am at peace.
P.S. I think you’re really going to love it up here. Just promise me it won’t be too soon.
With love from above,
Amanda traced the words with her fingers one more time before re-folding the letter. She clutched it to her heart. For the first time since she lost Emerson, a calmness had settled upon her. An odd sensation it was, but she knew it could only be one thing, peace. Armored with renewed strength, Amanda knew she would always miss Emerson, but now she could see past the black dress to a colorful future ahead.