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MIchigan Winter Cool
We were Michigan winter cool hot summer and wicked spring lovers.
Lounging in the mango lemon rays of the sun, watching fireworks blasting overhead in the liquid night sky. Fiery explosions of color raining over us and our intertwined hands. You whispered to me “One day, we are going to get married.” I just laughed and said no; never. I did not want to get married at all.
I change my mind, now. I want to be married to you. I want to be with you, still.
We were Michigan Winter cool skating at the roller rink. I’d date boys with safety pin-piercings and tattoo’s that melted in the rain.
But you were Michigan winter cooler than them with your authentic thick-needle piercing and professional ink-slinger tattoos. You told me that your tribal arm-band was crooked, after you got it done. Engraved and etched into your skin. You dated girls with tiny clothes and bright, doe eyes. But we were always just friends back then.
Once, though, we were hot summer and wicked spring lovers. Sleeping on warm black trampolines; sharing couch cushions and watching movies on mute. We didn’t want to wake my parents. You told me that you loved me and that you never kissed her.
I believed you.
So I turned my radio off, took the lavender flowers you picked from the garden and kept the note.
“I love you,” it had said.
I do not think you meant to be mean; to turn bad. Be with bad people. It was because I got sick, wasn’t it? That was what you had told me, after all. I tried to change for you. I pulled you back, didn’t I?
This funeral cannot be storybook. Romantic and sad like in movies. There’s too much black and too much rain. Not enough happily ever after. None, really, at all. Everyone gave me sympathetic smiles, as if I would return them. As if my big sister had not just died. And left me all alone.
They asked if I was okay. I never lied.
“Are you okay?”
Do I look okay, Molly? No. My sister would tell me the truth. Molly always told the truth.
You look like hell, baby,” She would say. And I would try to fix my hair or my makeup to look like her- until she finally gave up and fixed it for me- but not now.
I tried to be like her. Diet like her, dress like her. I did not want to starve to death.
I walked upstairs not sure what I would find.
Her scent. Jasmine and vanilla and coconut and lime in the summer.
The sound. Her wind chime dancing outside of her window. Spinning and rocking; clashing, banging back and forth like a beautiful cymbal symphony.
Touch things. The cream frosting colored bedspread and white mesh canopy.
I could not look at the pictures.
I sure as hell didn’t know what he was doing there-here. In her bedroom, at her funeral. He didn’t look guilty. He looked positively innocent; as if he was not doing anything wrong. Maybe something normal, like cooking or reading or cleaning instead of going through your ex-girlfriends stuff. Smelling one of her sweatshirts.
He looked up at me as he inhaled.
“You look just like her, you know. Before she got sick.” He meant I was fat. I knew, though, that I looked nothing like her. Not pretty like her. Not even close.
John closed his eyes. “There are so many things I never got to tell her. So many things I wish I could have said. Like that I was sorry. That I never meant to hurt her. That I loved her.” He cried. “That I still love her.
I slowly pulled the sweatshirt out of his vice grip. Death grip.
The grip of death.
“This one’s mine,” I said.
We didn’t mean to kiss, Molly. I don’t think he’s Michigan winter cool.
He’s more autumn now that you’re gone. Crisp, cold, full of dull colors.. Still beautiful, though.
You were so good to people. So good at helping; lifting people’s spirits. Hell, if you were alive, you would probably forgive me.
But you loved him so much and he’s helping me and I’m helping him because neither of us have you anymore and he’s the closest thing I’ve got.
The closest thing I’ve got to you.
He’d turn bad again without me. I’m the only way he can come here, into your bedroom, go through your things. Smell your sweatshirts.
It’s what you would have wanted, isn’t it?