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Face Behind Glass
It was not going to be a careless decision. I’d spent a lifetime weighing the possibility that the tragedy would suddenly change into a comedy, but every way I saw it...the story needed an ending.
Growing up, I looked forward to my future. Someday I would be responsible and want to take a job, and value a woman for who she was. I would boldly face the mirror and see a young man of 27 who had lost less than optimism and gained more than weight, I think. That was long ago.
Carpe Diem; idiom.
I wish I could remember what mornings were like. From the time I was a child I would not get out of bed before afternoon unless someone was there to pull away the covers and drag me by my ankles. Despite my complaining, I know now to be grateful.
If somebody up there loves me, why shouldn’t be up there with him?
Yesterday Roxanne, 26, was walking home from work. This morning she appears before the city’s rainy doorstep, flapping in the wind against soggy newsprint to shock, and be forgotten before tomorrow. Pedestrian killed in Clifford and 90th tanker collision. “And we didn’t love her”, the pages whisper.
Death is one’s final expression, so plan it, before it catches you unprepared.
They say is where you find it…but she was an alchemist.
It was a mystery to me, and then, it made sense.
Looking back, it wasn’t until I met you that I truly felt for someone besides myself. Since I had known you I could not be extinguished by death…but would carry into your lifetime. I know this now because you are with me every day.
I silently begged for you to break me apart and force the shards together again. I built the wall to be torn down and stood on the edge so that you would knock me off in the process. Instead, you stood behind the wall and whispered through the cracks.
Keel; n, v.
Sometimes I would accumulate a hissing spark of hope. I would take a warm bath and relax on the notion that the world really had been kind to me. I would then realize I had done nothing to earn it, and you had been taken instead. I would grow angry enough to drain the steaming water, but out of respect for you, I could not give up easily and drop the cord and let my spirit fly from the water in a spectacular, electrical mist.
The first time we walked to your house together I was greeted by your daisies. You then showed me the pliability of the earth, and I could feel soil around my hands as we ripped away choking weeds. The first time I walked away from your resting place I expected to forget those daisies. You would have laughed to see them flood the paths we once walked together, springing out of our footsteps.
I never thought I would return to that second-hand store where I found myself, behind those dusty shelves. Pieces of you remain in the other employees and customers; your friends. When I’m there I pluck you from them like one of your daisies, taking you gingerly into a bouquet to bring joy to my apartment even while knowing that again…you would fade.
A smile you would give willingly to anyone, everyone. It’s your tears that were precious to me.
I wish I could remember our last meeting. You had become such a part of me that I was no more aware of you than I was of my own heart. It was days after you had gone that I remembered you softly in your field of sunshine faces and waxy, white petals. I began to see your smooth arms everywhere and taste the salt of your tears on my lips. I could not escape feeling your face resting, hidden against my shoulder, pulsing through my bloodstream.
Some mornings I would wake to your faint, morning lily scent still lingering in the air. I wasn’t dreaming of you. I was just aware of you like I had been half awake all night and you had been standing there in the room, watching me sleep.
Love beyond two lifetimes.
Rain was washing summer grime from the second-hand store window. For an instant I didn’t recognize the glowing face within the splintered mirror among teapots and nearly unworn shoes.
And to think that not long ago, taking my own life was going to be my sole contribution to the world.
What you left behind I encounter every day.
From behind the counter you smiled a smile that ground deeply into my skin and clung to me, ringing in my ears like the shop-door chime.
A few days later we would meet for lunch. I can still see my glowing face in that mirror, softened by a years-forgotten smile.
With you gone, you remain deeply inside. I will always guard you from a return of my past.
Before you, I had spent my time in meaningless self-pity. Yet now, I’m afraid to cry again and wake behind those same, wasted tears, having never met you at all.
You must have been sitting on that bench talking to me. That’s what we did the day before, and weeks before that. Like the sun we would rise every morning and your hair would play in the wind and sunlight, waiting for me. Now I was waiting for you. Where could you have been?
A driver swerved through the pedestrian walkway—honking, whizzing past the front of my jacket. I could hear you beating inside my chest as I pulled away from squealing breaks and tires grinding asphalt. Today, Roxanne, I would not die.