You thought you had them. You took pictures with them and made plans with them and felt them when the darkness of night left you blind. And now that you’re without them you cannot help but think, “How funny, to miss something I never had”, which is inevitably followed by a sore smile and a forced laugh.
Their touches were soft, almost translucent. At times you overlooked them as nothing more than the soft flutters of a sure love you’d be experiencing forever. Now you crave what you took for granted, drowning in some overplayed cliche fit for television dramas.
You’ve made the necessary and often awkward announcement to friends and family. Each informative sentence packs a period that cuts through any self-medicating delusion you’ve managed to create. Reality is inescapable. You will never see them or feel them or hear them again.
Every “I’m sorry” or “everything happens for a reason” or “it just makes you stronger” cripples your resolve. You know the words are sewn together with sincerity and compassion, yet they unravel and fall at your feet before you can wear them convincingly. Only time can fill the crater left behind, and time is selfish and self-involved and will not give you what you need when you need it.
The plans you made with them are now avoidable memories you’ll never experience. Picture frames sit empty, waiting for photographs you’ll never take. Clothes you bought for them now wait, collecting dust and disdain until cotton meant for one hits the skin of another. The future you envisioned is now nothing more than an unforgiving mirage, vanishing just when you thought it was close enough to touch.
You’ll hide the only pictures that prove they once existed in your world. Your future will never know them so you implore they continue existing in your past, encompassing a road never traveled. Once in a while when melancholy beckons and masochism entices you’ll look back for them, tracing the outline of their face before tears begin to blur the lines.
You’ll inevitably blame yourself. The thought of it all being so out of your control leaves you helplessly incapable of comprehension, so you turn inward. Perhaps if you were stronger or smarter or better prepared for such unconditional love. Maybe if you were optimistic or perpetually happy or anyone other than who you really, truly, unequivocally are. Then maybe, just maybe, they’d still be there.
And you’ve, undeniably, felt this loss before. Maybe it was the boyfriend who thought promises were really just suggestions. Maybe it was the girlfriend who thought your arms were synonymous with someone else’s.
All significant disappearances. All capable of sending us into the darkest parts of ourselves.
But all, little one, pale in comparison to the loss of you. I took pictures with you in what would have been your first home, my hands on my stomach right above where you pushed and punched and kicked. I made plans with you before you even took your first breath, closing my eyes to see you on top of strong shoulders or throwing a football or calling for me when you were scared. I felt you toss and turn and grow in the middle of the night, as if you were reminding me that sleep was sure to transform into nothing but a theory meant to fail in practice.
So now, when I think about the pictures I took and the plans I made and the dark nights I felt you, I think to myself, “How funny, to miss something I never had”. And then I force a sore smile. And then I wait for the laughter to finally follow…