I stand there, heels sinking into the thick green. Hands in the pockets of the black coat I wear, head down, I’ll never forget you. I’ll tell you everyday though, that I love you. Because I do, and I will. And, I’ll be there as soon as I can.
Your mother stands next to me, with your father’s arms around her. She dabs her eyes with a lace hanky. Your sister is on the other side. She whispers something into the priests ear. He starts.
Your friends stand around, your cousins, your co-workers. They cry, and say kind words. I don’t stand and talk, but just to you, I’ll whisper, I’ll be there as soon as I can. Some of them squeeze my arm as condolence, and I don’t look. I can’t see.
Later, we have moved away, but I can still tell you. I’ll listen to your deepest secrets, and tell you all my insecurities. I am afraid that I won’t reach you. Just a few hours and we’ll see.
The guitarist plays your favourite song, but no-one sings. I’ll sing for you, and I’ll be there. As soon as I can.
In our house, no longer a home, people I don’t know because you aren’t here, they fill their mouths with food paid for by the money you left. Dressed in black, just like me, they laugh and make looks at me. No-one knows that you have left. How do I breathe? Teach me, stop my tears, and stop me walking out.
Maggie, I think that’s her name – Margaret perhaps, your mother, she brings me wine and places a hand over mine. Her mouth moves, and I can’t understand the language she speaks. I never will, never again. I will only ever understand what you speak now. So I nod at the woman, Maggie, Maggie, yes, that’s her name, and it’s coming back to me. I see in her drooping, sad eyes what she is trying to say. And as I search for words to string together in those old blue eyes, they seem to lose their colour, and I begin to understand some of the words that struggle to leave her. Eat. Don’t. Home. Just some words. What is it she wants to say?
The guitar riff at the beginning of your favourite song replays in my head, the only part with hope and happiness. I lie on your bed, on your side, in the warmth you left. In your shirt. The blue striped one. Trying to talk, eyes glued to ceiling but seeing the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars, the planets and I’ll fall through to get to you. Anything to get to you.
So, I get up slowly, running my hands over the creases in the sheets, determined. I know what I have to do, and holding onto any part of you before I try, because I might just lose you. I’ll be there as soon as I can.
The last words you said, right? I’ll be there as soon as I can. And you left the small room at the top of the building, grabbed your keys, took the lift down, and ran to the parking lot. Then what? Did my voice ring in your head, and the words I said push you to come fast. Come quick. Because I needed you. Did you swerve in and out of the national speed limit lanes? Horn at slow drivers and shake your fist? Or where you too busy leaning into the steering wheel, in a hurry, looking side to side, trying to find a way? Find a way back to me? Because I needed you. And now where am I? Did I ever know how much I’d need you. The tables have turned, and now it’s my time to say, I’ll be there as soon as I can.
Tick tick tick, the indicator flashing green, a little light left in a dark world. I lean forward, clutching the steering wheel, see all around me. No need for drama or speed, be careful now. Follow the speed limit down this empty road, with tall buildings and hotels looming over me, yellow street lights and bus lanes.
I arrive at your building, clutching your keys in my hands. They leave red grooves in my fingers but the midnight cold means I don’t feel any pain. Security let me in with a sad nod of their heads. Like the rest, they are dressed in black and the whole world seems to have taken on this dress code to taunt me, to joke, and make fun. But secretly. The security guards ask me if I need any help, any boxes maybe. I say no. But you know. I’ll never need help again.
Is the lift I take up the lift you took down? All the way up, all the way down. The doors slide open to your floor, right at the top and fumbling with your keys I unlock and open the glass doors. Is it OK for me to sit at your desk? Swirl your chair? Stand by the tall windows? Stare out at the empty city? Your city, it’s your city, because I can see you face in the concrete and the glass and the lights that illuminate the hotel signs.
For a minute I am taken in by all of this. Across the road from me, although I cannot see, there are hundereds and thousands of people living, happy, laughing and joking. And I need to run back to you. Find you. So, is it OK for me to go through your drawers? Your secret stash? Make use of it? I’ll be there as soon as I can. And now, my hands rumage through the secret compartments of your desk, the secret compartments of your life, and they are all here. Anything to be close to you, anything to be you, and stand with my face pressed against the cold glass…
The sky. Above me scattered with exploding stars. Below, mixed in with red galaxies. The wind, beneath, in my hair, slowly, I take in the universe as I fall through. Fall to you, you’re so far, but I’m coming, I’m on my way. I can see the world I leave above me, it’s so distant as I make my way to you, my hero, my love.
The stars burst into flames and sparkle blue, purple, green. They are too far to touch. The universe sings your favourite song, and I hum along.
Fall, fall, quicker, I’m coming!
And as I get closer to saying I’m here, never to leave, the stars stop exploding and plaster a dark blue sky. The concrete and glass building rises from the ground, the song stops and all I hear is rushing as I fall and try to grab the life I slip away from. And as soon as it’s over, I’m here.