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Time Still Passes

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Even without you, time still passes. Some days, it drags, like a rusty muffler on the bumper of a junk car. Some days it flies, faster than I'd ever thought possible, and I'm left feeling exhausted dizzy. Then, there are also those special days, the happy mediums, when I just want to take one giant picture, to capture the moments forever. I want to be able to show you everything that you’re missing, prove to you that, even without you here, I’m still here. Breathing. Living. Letting time heal the wounds you left behind.

I do wonder about you, on my bad days. Where you are, what you’re doing, if you think about me at all. I wonder if I’m still the stupid girl who thought four weeks of summer could change everything.

If I’m being honest, somedays I talk to you. I pretend you’re standing right next to me, asking me how my day’s been, what I’m having for dinner, how I’m liking my new softball team. I still spill my guts out to you, but only in letters carefully concealed between my matress and box springs. You’re the only person I’ve ever told everything to. Everyone else only knows my partial stories. Bits and pieces of my life, that make an okay picture, but I never can quite manage to give away all of the puzzles pieces that make up my life. Except with you. But you were the exception to everything, right from the start.

If I’m all by myself, I shut my eyes really tight, and let my mind fly me to that lake where I first met you. The sun warming my frozen soul, loosening my frigid muscles. The dock’s wooden planks biting softly into my bare feet, reminding me what it’s actually like to feel something again. I’m wearing you’re favorite sundress, the one with the blue flowers that make my eyes look like an electric-blue slushie, according to you. And then you wander up the dock, disturbing from the middle of the book I was pretending to read, just like you did on that fateful day. I can still hear your voice, as you introduced yourself, and just sat down next to me. Without permission, I might add. You never were one to ask for permission. You didn’t ask permission to kidnap me and take me on what you called our first date. Really, you just tricked me into your sailboat and took off before I could leap back onto dry land. You didn’t ask permission to hold my hand as we waded in the shallows, just grabbed it, mid-arm swing, and refused to let go the rest of the way to shore. You didn’t ask permission to kiss me, that first time on the porch steps of the cottage. You didn’t ask permission to start calling me your girlfriend. You didn’t ask permission to leave. One day, you just left. Packed up your cabin, pecked me once on the cheek, and drove off into the dusty road’s horizon.

And some days I dream that maybe, just maybe, you regret throwing me away. That to you, I’ll be like an old childhood toy, well-loved, but long-forgotten, laying buried in the back of your mental closet. And someday, you’ll be digging through the memories, maybe looking at pictures of that summer, and stumble across me. I hope, to God, or Allah, whatever deity is out there, that you smile. That you remember that good times, the glorious three weeks we spent together. And then I hope you wish you’d spent just a little more time with me, or not gotten rid of me and replaced me with something shinier.

We sold the cottage last month. My parents told us at the dinner table. There was better land on a different lake, closer to home. After dinner, I went for a walk, figuring I’d need to be alone. I expected the water works, or at least some tears, a few sniffles. But instead, I didn’t feel anything. Just a little bit sad, yet a little bit relieved. Like you were my old toy, not the other way around. I was sad that I would be letting you go. But I was relieved because it meant this phase of my life was over. I could finally move on to bigger and better things.

Because, with you or without you, I’m still living. And I’ve finally gotten around to moving on. Because, without you here, time still passes.



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