Layered above the symphony of flowing rivers and bird songs, nostalgia plays its melancholic melody. I can feel it, the regret, filling every pause. Through the overhanging branches and leaves, I catch a glimpse of you, my dear friend. You, full of life, with a soul spilling with laughter and love and warmth.
Look behind you, slowly. Do you see the scene that’s coming into focus? Don’t look away, I tell myself, and don’t you look away either, don’t let it fade. Do you see it? We are together, in a coffee shop, the one we always go to after work. My hands are barely touching the decaf coffee in front of me, and I know you have not even tasted your bitter espresso. A relaxed smile plays on my face, and on yours a smile of content.
You tell me how your eldest son just got accepted in his dream school, and I offer my congratulations. Then, laughter spills from our lips as we recall our own colorful university years.
We were so close. Yet now, I have learned that we were not close enough. I didn’t know you at all. Even to this day, I cannot imagine the suffering and the pain that hid cleverly behind your smiles.
Every word you said, every emotion you conveyed, filtered to reveal only your happiness. If only I saw clearer, listened to you more, understood you better -
But you were my best friend, it’s all just so unfair -
If only -
What could’ve been - what should’ve been -
You’re here, now. I can see you. Through the overhanging branches and leaves, I catch a glimpse of you, my dear friend. The scene behind you fades, and all that’s left are the trees, leaves, the forest. What could’ve been, becomes indistinguishable until I believe it actually happened.
It might just be a trick of the eye, but you’re fading too, aren’t you?
Like filtered sunlight becoming dimmer and dimmer, until the forest ground is nothing but the dark of night, you disappear. You were never there, anyways.