I went swimming, and I felt you in the water, holding me upright. I wouldn’t have thought you would spend the afterlife in a swimming pool, but I’m glad you were with me.
At your funeral I wore that white lace dress you like, and baby’s breath in my hair. You would have loved it, seeing me in white one last time.
Your mom is letting me leave books in your room. I left poetry books, because I know how much you believed that I would write one someday. Keats and Rumi: long-dead writers who still teach us about love. Maybe what we had (have?) can be immortal in a way, too. I also left an aphrodisiac cookbook, with pictures of naked women covered in chocolate and men suggestively holding fruit to their lips.
I have to drive past your road every time I get groceries or coffee or go to the laundromat. I used to think that mountain climbing was hard, that differential equations were hard, that listening to my parents fight was hard. What’s really hard is not to turn into your driveway.
I’m tired of people asking me how I’m doing. I feel like a puddle in an alleyway. I feel like a silent film playing in an abandoned theater.
I thought about you before I went to sleep. I imagined your fingers plunging deep inside me, your sweat, your voice. I wondered if this was necrophilia. The thought made me laugh.
I went to the art museum today. Do you remember looking at the Impressionist paintings with me? I got so close to the Monet in the corner that a security guard asked me to step away. She told me my breath might hasten the process of decay. Imagine that. Breath.
Nothing here sounds quite like your voice, not even the message on your answering machine. I call it anyway, but it doesn’t sing like you do, doesn’t laugh, doesn’t say, I love you.
I got my period today. At least I’m not pregnant.
Do you remember when we would touch our hands together and they would line up, wrist to wrist, fingertip to fingertip? You never liked your small hands, but I’m glad I can look at mine and remember yours.
All my friends are in long-distance relationships. Is that what we have, too?
I cried for the first time since the funeral. Remember the plant we bought together? I forgot to water it, left it on the windowsill in the sun. Now it’s brown and dry. You said to me, “It’s practically idiot-proof, so you can’t kill it.” Now it’s dead. I love you, Richard, and I’m so sorry.
I saw you on the street today, staring at me, smiling in front of the red sky at sunset. I don’t know what you were doing there, what business ghosts might have to attend to, but thanks for showing up. You don’t know how precious a few seconds on the sidewalk can be until they’re gone.