I felt you dashing through that coiled light tunnel the day the color bled out from the world. Everything went white, and there’s been a heaviness floating low over this place ever since. I remembered starless skies and scarce paintbrush clouds and the way your silver ring felt icy cold when you grasped my hand. We were laying flat on a hilly, short-grassed terrain and pretending we were members of space. We talked about our mothers, how they raised us, what TV shows we weren’t allowed to watch as kids, and how afraid you were of death. You let me stay quiet when I had nothing of substance to say about those private terrors. I kept tumbling away into that black space, drifting farther away from every real thing and squeezing tighter onto my hold of you. But you became sand traveling in the lines of my hands, and I wept for weeks.
We rode on the backs of elephants of the dullest kind of blue, and their trunks swung with delight as we hobbled away to the village. We took decent pictures. We ate fresh fruits from trees and burned incense to intoxicate our souls and make our minds start swimming. We played in rivers and painted on each other. We held hands under my blanket that night we had to sleep at that sterile airport in New Delhi. We buried what would have been our family dog, because some cars drive too fast and life isn’t fair. We bought a cat and found out I was allergic. We watchedRipley’s… Believe It or Not! and never believed it. We watched Peter Pan and knew it was real. I believed in everything you ever cared about, and I held you up so high that your hair grew wet from the dampness of the clouds. I never got the chance to tell you how many things you made me love, just because I saw that glow in your eyes when you talked about them, and I wanted to glow with you. We used to finish off pints of ice cream while watching crime shows at 2 AM of a rough night, and you said those dead bodies and unsolved murders made me so lucky to be sad over a pretty girl, or a failed exam, or even just the brutal monotony.
I had nothing poignant or poetic to scratch into the light pole that killed you, so I just wrote “Everything else can stay here” because not a single planet has moved since you left. And while I etch away into the metal and fight the cold with mittens and an uncomfortably tight scarf, I know it’s only a matter of time before we get sucked into the furious Sun.
I walked home by myself in that grey reality after signing away my memory, and with every step, I let small pieces of my faith fall into the ground with you. I waited outside on the porch until the morning paper arrived. It was freezing. I played Tetris on my phone until there was no more battery. The paper came, the battery died.
January 9th, a Tuesday – you don’t breathe my air anymore, and the Earth stopped, and the snow fell as fat confetti celebrating your departure.