By now, it’s been far too long since you left. At first, I never imagined a day passing by without finding traces of you in everything. Now, it seems, I haven’t thought of you at all.
You’re like god, the idea of you — at least. You’re not here anymore. I’ve forgotten when you were here. You had blonde hair, or at least I think you did. Your eyes were blue, like cracked crystals on the edge of a ledge.
On that ledge is where I stand today. I see no shining crystals in the horizon, or your eyes. I’m in pain. My body, frail and ached, has been hooked to machines that beep every time my heart beats. When I breathe, I feel my lungs collapsing onto themselves. There’s a heaviness in my bones that the doctors can’t explain. There’s a flickering light five tiles to the left of me. It’s quiet. A little too quiet now.
Everyone has left and I am all alone now.
The young boy, who was two beds and a partition away, was discharged earlier. His laughter at Mr. Krab yelling near the pineapple under the big blue sea doesn’t echo anymore.
Was this what it felt like when you died? Or was it quick? Did you feel anything at all before taking your last breaths? I’m being dramatic. I’m not dying. I’m too weak to understand what it means to die.
I don’t know why I’m writing to you again. I feel much closer to you than any living being I know. I wonder what doctors feel like. I’m glad I never studied medicine. Imagine me in a white coat, facing others’ fear of mortality everyday. I never want to be with a doctor, either. I cannot live knowing what they know. I cannot live seeing fragments of grieving mothers in their eyes, or rare beams of hope when their patients survive.
I’ve never seen someone die before. I don’t want to. Some days, when my heart feels too heavy to carry itself through my bones, I don’t know how to explain it. I think my heart knows more than what I’m aware of. I think it has seen more than my eyes are able to register.
This isn’t about heartbreak. This isn’t about the boy who always seems to have said the wrong things at the wrong time. This isn’t about deferred dreams. This isn’t about me. It isn’t about living, dying, or whatever comes in between.
I want to live. More than that, I want to be alive. I want to stand in the face of it all and scream at the top of my lungs from joy. I want to race through the Brooklyn Bridge, climb the Lenin Peak, sleep on a boat at the Ionian sea shore, and lose my way in a forest somewhere between Colombia and Peru.
Do you remember when we climbed and rolled down the three hills behind our neighborhood? We were loud, young, and full of life. Then you paused, gazing at the stars. And you said, “Are there mountains in the sky?”
“I don’t know,” I told you, shrugging. “Dumbo.”
Then you said, “If there are mountains, I want to climb them.” Weeks later, or months after — I don’t recall the details anymore — you did. Your body stayed here, but I bet you climbed those mountains. I hope you did. For the both of us, I hope you did.
Unedited, but signed with love
Sept. 13, 2016.