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Old Photographs

I receive an envelope.
Not just any envelope,
but a package from an unknown source.
There is no return address.
There is no name.
It’s a plain yellow envelope.
It had beautiful, loopy, curly, lettering,
and it makes my eyes do a dance as I read the words.
My eyes dance across the front.
I open the envelope carefully.
Trying not to rip or harm it in any way.
I am alone,
and it’s dark outside.
The sun has just begun to rise.
I am anxious to see the contents of this envelope.
It is the first time,
in a long time,
that I have felt anything.
I take a deep breath and I look inside.
I see a small, rubber banded stack of photographs.
I remove the rubber band and take another deep breath.
A lump in my throat instantly develops
and I tear up.
I am feeling again.
I don’t like it.
I remember these photos.
I embrace these photos.
I relive each of the memories as I look through them.
Each of the photographs hold sacred memories.
Ones that I’ll never forget.
A certain photo, however, catches my eye.
It takes me way back to the best time of my life.
I was happy.
For once in my life,
I was happy.
I run my thumb down the picture,
making sure it was actually there.
I force a smile upon my face,
but not just any smile.
The familiar smile I only had on my face,
when I was with him.
A tear blurs my vision,
and runs down my cheek,
but not a sad, painful tear.
It was joyful tear,
and it reminded me of how he made me laugh,
and cry.
Not crying from sadness, but from overwhelming joy.
As I stare at this photograph,
the memory becomes vivid and I relive it.
Over and over.

***

Me and him are hand in hand,
running down the street laughing together.
We were oblivious to the world,
and only cared about each other.
His brown, curly hair is blowing,
and my blonde hair is flying in all different directions.
He was smiling at me and staring into my eyes,
as I was doing the same.
We were running to the beach.
I was in my blue, ruffled bikini and my shorts,
and he was in his blue, flowered swim trunks.
We were in love.
Those words can’t even describe it.
It was more than love.
It was real.
It was true.

***

My eyes swell up and I can hardly breathe.
I am feeling again and I hate it.

***

We got to the end of the street.
We stared into each others eyes and we kissed.
It was soft, gentle, and true.
We were holding hands and I felt safe.
I didn’t have to be afraid anymore.
With him, I was safe.
I was happy.
We went to the beach and the waves were rough.
I didn’t want to go,
but he said it’d be safe if I was with him.
I believed him.

***

I start crying harder.
I am feeling again,
and I absolutely hate it.

***

The waves were towering over our heads.
I told him it was too dangerous,
but he said not to worry.
Moments later,
a huge wave crashed over our heads,
and tumbled us under the water.
I washed up on shore gagging, coughing, and spitting.
I nearly drowned.
When I got up,
He was nowhere to be seen.

***

I start sobbing,
and feeling,
and my anger and rage comes back.
I hate it.

***

I started looking around for him, panicking.
I didn’t know what to do.
Some friends that were with us,
said he was caught in a riptide.
He was pulled out to sea.
There was no way to save him.
I didn’t care. I jumped back in the water.
I swam through the waves looking for him.
I went so far out, I couldn’t touch.
I saw him floating, face down, about 50 yards away.
I screamed his name.
He didn’t respond.
I swam over to him and I put him over me.
I struggled to swim back to shore,
but I managed to do it somehow.
I lied him down on the sand,
and I tried to catch my breath.

***

I am feeling.
I start sobbing even more and I can hardly breathe.
I hate it.

***

I was screaming his name,
begging him to get up.
I checked his pulse.
Nothing.
His face was blue.
Blue like the ocean.
His body was ice cold.
He had drowned.
He was gone.
He was never going to come back.
I felt so guilty.
I felt like I killed him.
I went to drown myself,
but a lifeguard rescued me.
I started screaming in his face.
And cussing at him.
And threatening him.
And telling him to go kill himself.
That was the day I lost control,
and the day I was heart broken.

***

I cry and scream.
I want to throw up.
I want to die.
I scream. I kick. I punch.
When I’m done crying,
I go to the bathroom and rinse my face with cold water.
I'm a little more relaxed.
I take the stack of photographs,
and put them back in the envelope.
Just the way they were when I got them.
I put on my jacket and I put the photos into it.
I open the door and allow the chilled, spring air to whip me.
To whip at my face, at my hair, and at my hands.
I walk through the woods and I find the trail.
I continue down the trail until I find the field.
This was our field.
We used to have picnics out here,
and look out at the mountains.
We would lie down in the flowers,
and make shapes out of clouds.
I always thought they looked like big balls of fluff,
that had no purpose in life and were lost.
They were lost in their own dreariness.
He diminished those thoughts,
and he helped me look at the world differently.
Positively.
I go to this field and I pick a beautiful bouquet.
There are beautiful flowers of all kinds.
Tall, yellow sunflowers,
purple, orange, and yellow pansies,
pink and white daisies,
and my favorite,
orange tiger lilies.
I take the photographs out of the envelope,
and spread them across the ground.
I put the flowers next to them,
and I take a mental picture.
I then take a lighter and run my finger down the flint.
I watch the small, orange, and blue flame ignite.
I hold it against the corner of the picture.
The best picture,
and also the worst picture.
I hold it there until the photo accepts the flame,
and it catches on fire.
I watch it bend, curl, and turn to ash,
and set the next one on fire.
The flowers and photos burned,
as did my mental picture.
I stomped out the fire and spread the black ashes.
I spread them across the field.
Until they blended with the earth.
There was no sign of those memories.
Not a trace.
I take a deep breath of fresh air and walk.
I’m not sure where I plan on going,
or how long I will be gone,
but all I know is that I’m calm.
I’m at peace.
I’m feeling again.
Feeling happy,
and I absolutely love it.



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