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What Should Have Been

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Years have passed since he last dabbled his feet along the edge of the pool out back, brim encrusted with retired oak leaves, savoring the sensation of crisp water tickling his ankles.

Years have passed since his last game of hide-and-seek. Concealed beneath brush, branches lacerating his face and shredding his hand-me-down t-shirt as he choked back his excitement, reminding himself not to let out a peep, not to breathe.

And years have passed since he spent his last nickel at the candy store; Charleston Chew in hand, skipping proudly back home. Sneaking in a glance now and then at his money well spent.

But what was once in full bloom is now long withered away. And although I posses no beliefs in ghosts, the memories forever haunt me.
At times, suffering emerges from desire. A desire for knowledge. A desire for conclusion. A desire for all loose ends to be knotted. And it is the form of suffering that shadows me. It is my cross to bear, my burden, my cargo weighing me down. Thoughts of what could have been, thoughts of how it should have been. Relentless reminders that I am down one fist bump, down one present on Christmas Morning, down one uncomfortable conversation about "how school's going" in the kitchen, down one face in the family picture. Reminders that I am down one Uncle.





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