The Sound of It

My Dearest,

I just like the sound of it.

You and me…

Enjoying a gentle walk on a cool fall afternoon; then returning home to carve the face of a jack-o’-lantern into a pumpkin you grew in your garden.

You and me…

Sitting on the tailgate of a Dodge Ram laughing while enjoying cucumber sandwiches, carrots, and ice-cold lemonade.

You and me…

Listening to your playlist and wondering why yours is always better than mine.

I just like the sound of it.

You and me…

Sitting in a swing, pushing off the porch floor with bare toes and soaring through the air like children at the park.

You and me…

Lying on a blanket looking up at the night sky wondering what we should call the stars while making wishes we feel sure will come true.

You and me…

Holding hands and kissing at the close of a never-been-better kind of day.

I just like the sound it, the sound of thoughts I have about you.

Always,

IMV

– Random thoughts listening to Trap Land by Yellow Claw

The Red Glow of Mars

My darling, my darling. Dusk is here, why aren’t you? The daisies I picked this morning are losing their petals to the heat. Each fallen petal sings and then weeps, “He loves me … He loves me not.” Venus shines brightly in the western sky. Mars is to the southeast, clocking its way toward Venus. They make such a lovely pair. It’s too bad Earth stands between them, but perhaps they’ll get close enough to share a kiss tonight.

Before dusk gives way to night I gather bergamot leaves and rose petals, grind them, and sprinkle the powder into one of the clam shells we found on the quiet shores of the bay. I add several drops of cedarwood oil and a teaspoon of clover honey. I take a flaming match to the mixture, creating the incense of you and me. The scent of ‘us’ fills the room.

I tug at a red satin ribbon tied neatly around a wooden keepsake box. As the ribbon slides off, I lift the lid and pull out your last letter. Your handwriting is inviting, but I don’t read your words. There’s no need, I know what the letter says. I’ve read it a hundred times. You love me. You want me. All of your thoughts circle back to me. You ended with, “Look for the red glow of Mars. Find my presence there.”

The turntable plays one of our many songs. It’s a sad yet beautiful tune.

I sway and turn with the music and find you standing there, extending your arm. Your pointed gaze hits the center of my soul. My eyes mirror your intensity, but my nervous laughter gives me away. Are you real or just a dream? Perhaps you’re nothing more than a haunting memory. I fear I’m losing touch with reality.

You take my hand. My troubles begin to melt away. Soon, I’m lost in your arms and nothing matters except for us. Time pauses. The night is young and so are we.

“I’ve made up my mind,” I say. “It’s here, dancing with my soulmate, that I want to stay.” It feels good to say it out loud. “Stay with me. Forever.”

Your lips brush against mine. This is my reality. You. You are my reality. The decision has been made.

The record skips. It’s stuck on the saddest part of the song.

“Don’t go.” My plea is too late. You’re already gone. I begin to wonder whether or not you were ever here, but Mars’s steady red glow assures me that you were.

Richard

Dear Richard,

You are the kindest soul I have ever known. You gave me a job twice when I really needed one and held my hand all through my father’s funeral, assuring me everything would be all right. You instilled confidence in my five-year-old daughter, making her your Hearts partner whenever we played, and gave me the day off when my dog died, understanding what an important loss of a family member it was. We cried for John together the morning Bianca died, and have buried more pets between us than anyone should have to.

Struggling to write your eulogy today, I leaf through yellowed papers with fading ink, remembering some of the things we laughed about on those drives into work … and how certain memories always made you smile. I recalled that stupid license plate game we played more years than I can count, the pantries we stocked in anticipation of the end-of-the-world apocalypse, and the spool coffee-table business that was going to turn us into millionaires! Such humiliation when the peanut gallery wet themselves laughing. I thought about the time I accidentally knocked you out with two Miltown tablets instead of Excedrin, and how all you said was, “Don’t worry about it. At least you got rid of my headache.”

You, Richard Miller, introduced me to so much, my first computer, now the first of many, and so many treasured friendships I never would have known if not for you. All those trips to Vegas with John, Dale and Hank … where we once pretended to be married to get a free breakfast from a land promotional company—who made us sit through a boring three-hour business spiel. In the end, I guess the joke was on us? One year, you took me to the most beautiful secretary’s lunch at Musso and Frank, where we ended up meeting Buffy Sainte Marie. You graciously faked being as big a fan as I when you saw my excitement at meeting one of my childhood idols. “That was who again?” You asked when we left. One of the things I have most admired about you through the years is your simple grace and aplomb … the way you always sidestep any obstacle with elegance and dignity.

Through a blur of tears, I see your warm smile and those untold stories just behind your eyes. Knowing I will never hear another or receive another bone-crushing hug is too much to bear. Selfishly, I’ve been thinking how much I already miss you and wish you were here like the old days … wish you were here to help me get through this. I don’t know what I imagine you would say? Just something witty and wry—something that would whisper through the trees, “It’s all right … I’m here.”

Love always,
Cathy

Reveries and Buttercups

“The sun shines not on us but in us.” – John Muir

Dear Emma,

Today marks the astronomical start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. With the longest daylight hours upon us, I search inwardly for light. For you see, bright memories of you live within my heart and occupy my mind. I am most alive when I revert to the time and place when you walked among the living. Lost in my reveries, I always find my way to you.

You are teaching me how to connect the dots and make constellations out of my solitude. Connections to you come through the song of a sparrow, a gentle summer rain, a field of buttercups. When your shape radiates through nature, I can almost reach over, take your hand and walk with you once again.

You shine within me,
Charles