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Sometimes it takes a dream to help you see
Every time I dream of you, it never makes much sense. Not the dream, not you being there, nothing. Not until you look at me. Not until you turn the right side of your face slowly towards me, like you sensed me there. Like you were waiting all this time in this multiple grey hue setting, with the blurs of people passing by, just to face me finally.
So when the defining features of your slightly bigger nose, your ever thick coarse black hair slightly greying, and the unusual pale of your naturally tanned skin begins to blend into the clear features of your face straight on, facing me wholly...it's then that my dream of you begins to make sense. Like your brown eyes, darkened by the shadowed place we're in and of the pain and death that has taken you, has somehow struck me. It has struck me and I know...I know that this is important.
At the edges of my mind, inside those dreams at the corners—is a dark grey all smudged and blurred and unfocused. But when you face me and my green brown eyes meet the brown ones they've taken after, I find myself solely focused on you. I find myself rooted and wishing to speak though I can’t. But I don’t have to. In your dark and weathered eyes holds something unspoken but something I somehow understand.
Your expression isn't happy, I vaguely note. Though it isn't sad and it isn't angry. Your expression is…it’s—it’s as though you’re looking at me with some determined knowledge. And that's the best way I can put it, as I skim my eyes trying to read the features your face has set into. The slightest narrow of your dark eyebrows that lets me know it has been a long overdue wait, the intense way your eyes hold my gaze not allowing me to look away, and the firm yet somehow relaxed set of your jaw.
And I get the feeling that I'm being scolded somehow and yet at the same time I feel a sense of something coming together. Something final, something more accepting with just the barest hint of an apology that might not even be there at all, really. And then your face loses some of the hard intensity and relaxes the slightest bit into something that reminds me of an acceptance of some sort. But the intensity is still in your eyes. It's those eyes that somehow tell me, somehow strike me, somehow make me feel aware, somehow provide me with unspoken knowledge.
As if its like you understand what’s been done and the war it’s caused and the sacrifice. It’s like you’re letting me know that the past has already been done and it isn't the same, but that you also accept that you can no longer do anything about it, now that you're gone. That this is my fight now. Like you’re telling me that you need to go your way now, and I need to go mine. That this is forever, because it is.
That fact swarms my gut in a cold truth and for a second my past dreams of you come back to my mind from within the one I'm in now and it all pieces together into this vital web that has begun to unravel. Every dream of you, you were there telling me that I cannot change what has happened. That it was always to happen. That no matter how much I bargain and beg, you will have done what you've done as a result to the choices that were made even since before I was born and that I need to accept that. That I need to accept that the ball was rolled a long time ago and the chain reaction it resulted in was merely a matter of time and unavoidable. To accept you're gone. To face that as much as I am facing you now.
Then somehow a tiny thought stuck me. An small acknowledgement that was probably insignificant in the whole scheme of things, but one that wormed its way into my thoughts none the less. I felt myself frowning the slightest bit. I found that, when I look into those eyes that I only remember so clearly when I close my own, I don’t exactly feel the warmth I did as a kid. And maybe that's because things have obviously changed. Or maybe it's because, here, you're eyes aren't a warmed chocolate brown that would look down at me lively and would somehow settle a feeling of warmth and comfort and safety into my innocent bones that would reassure me.
Instead I began to feel a truth that settled its way into my stomach and armored to my shoulders, steeling itself into my skin and my bones. I feel separate from you, now. I feel a path that has been cleared…one that I need to take that will lead me from this place, away from what I cling to. I feel an understanding I don’t want. An understanding that it’s time I've let this go, let you go, because you are no longer there in the world I wake up to. An understanding that you cant save me from my nightmares the way I use to dream that you would, the nightmares I must now face with my own bravery instead of yours.
It's the last few seconds that your eyes look straight into mine that I know that we both understand all of that. I know that we both understand the pain and the truth and what’s still here and what’s been lost. And so when you nod your head slightly towards me, I can hear the words in vague reminiscent of your voice with so much certainty, “Semper Fi my little co-pilot. You’re going to be alright“—it’s then that I’m aware that you know I understand too.
And so when you walk away— not once looking back, like your job is now done-- it's only then that I continue on a different direction without watching you fade away from my view like I'd done so many times as a child, every time mom had picked me and Cole up to take us back home and I'd watch from the backseat window as you watched me fade from you too. We didn't this time because this is different…because this isn't goodbye, this is moving on.