Your heartbeat is so heavy inside my head, and your breath is a beautiful, laboured melody, that I know I will eternally hear. I am afraid of what happens when I am alone again.
I have been alone. I remember the way I watched the sun obsessively, seeing it rise, admiring it as it hung high in the sky all day, and then weeping as it vanished.
Don’t go to sleep. I remember life before you. My eyes were so weighted, constantly underwater. I used to watch the sun, wait for the moon and hope that it would bring me some comfort, but it never came.
I blame myself, Blue. God, I remember my life before you. I would look in the mirror, making eyes and putting lip gloss on a stranger. There was someone like you once, but neither she nor I was awake and realising what we were witnessing, so when the pain of parting sank in, it came as a surprise.
I am not surprised now. I am an old woman now. I am on autopilot. I make you a pot of tea. I check in, yet again, with our son, to see when he will swing by. I ask him so casually. I do not mop the monsoon of tears as I speak. I simply ask when he will visit his dying mother. I do not recall his response, and I make you more tea, then I fall to the floor in frustration, when I realise you are surrounded by an army of teapots, full of cold gold, that can’t stop you from taking this journey.
I remember life before you, Blue. Before the boy. Before the big house in Edinburgh, that I was afraid of, when we first moved in, because all I had to fill it was a few dresses, my notebooks, and my old records. I remember life before I would wake up to a warm woman, who held me like I was something precious.
The boy will be here soon. I kneel beside the bed we have shared, and I beg for your forgiveness. You hold my hand with as much strength as you can muster, and I must have fallen asleep, because in just an instant, I hear the front door slam, and your voice, strangled but still sweet calls my name.
The hands of the clock want to hurt me. They have stolen hours, and the sun is setting. The world doesn’t seem to understand that you are mine. They don’t understand that I won’t let them take you.
The boy is in the door way. He is trying so hard not to cry, and I know that because he is biting his lip until it threatens to bleed, like he used to as a child, when he was so afraid to be vulnerable. He doesn’t remember life before you, Blue. I almost envy him.
I remember life before you, Blue. I remember how much my loneliness would cannibalise me. I remember retiring to a dark room to die before I’d even lived, because real life didn’t seem like it was made for girls like me. Then you came along, like a miracle, or a Christmas wish, and I looked at you with such childlike awe, because at last, my heart had a purpose, and the pain would stop and I could finally cry because I was happy and…
The pain never really stopped. It just slept for a little while, but the sun always rises, everyone and everything wakes up eventually, and inevitably, so does pain. I can feel it stirring in my stomach, stretching and yawning as it pads around in an old housecoat, making coffee and reading our love story in the morning papers.
I don’t want to remember life before you, but it’s coming. I can’t fight my head and my horrid memories. They are scrambling and shouting, pushing as they make room for you. I don’t want you to be a memory. I want you in my arms. I want you in the car next to me. I want you in the bed, smiling like I’m worth waking up to. I want you smoking roll ups with me in the garden as I write a stupid sonnet about how stuck on you I am.
It’s coming. I am desperate. I’ll try anything. You asked me to read the first poem I wrote for you at the funeral but I can’t because it’s so stupid, and so frivolous, and the girl I was back then didn’t really know you, she just wanted to fuck you, and Blue, I’m so in love with you now and you’re killing me. You’re killing me.
I am making tea again. Nobody wants it. I have never liked it. I am doing it anyway. I hear you laugh a little, down the hall, and I am struck by how much it still stuns me. How beautiful and essential you have always been, and how much it will hurt to recall your laugh, when the memory of it is all I have left.