you can dream whatever you want but when you dream of me, remember the way i laughed so loud others would turn and see who seemed to be having more fun than anyone else in the room.
you can envision anything but when you see visions of me, i’ll be in my ratty old jack purcells i used to wear with my favorite jeans and nappy black sweater, giggling as i look up at you.
you can think about whatever you want but when you think of me, think of the way we never ran out of things to talk about, how we gave to each other unconditionally.
i lived this life the best i could. i stumbled and crashed and fell head over heels. never did i find a way to fully keep my mouth shut. i was the great defender of the underdog. i was the girl who never stopped asking questions. and i loved you for reasons you didn’t always understand, but you still welcomed everything i had to give.
i never meant to leave you. you and i were supposed to be old and wrinkly together. but that’s what happens when the world throws its own curveball your way. you have to figure out what to do when the doctor tells you that you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle. how to react. or don’t react.
when i first found out, i didn’t want to tell you. i sat in the park and looked down at my bare feet. i looked at the freckles on my arms and the paint on my toes and where my body had been. what i had put it through. where along the road did it all begin.
so i went out for pancakes. i know, pancakes, right? not something you would think you would do when you get diagnosed. but i just wanted to feel like a kid, without a care in the world. back when i was chasing boys in the playground and they were chasing me up trees. back when all i needed to do to feel good was to lay out in the soft green grass of our triangular backyard, hand in hand with a best friend, staring at the blue sky and describing the shapes of the clouds.
but when i looked up, your heart was all i could dream of. i knew that in spite of the heroic articles about survivors, there was a lifeline in my palm that they always said ended abruptly. forty one years old and happier than i could ever have imagined, we had created a life that more than made up for the obstacles that had crossed our individual paths in earlier years.
with you i’d felt that word that all women craved: safe. so when our son arrived, i knew with no doubt that you would be the father that i’d always hoped he’d have. you would teach him about love and life and art and music and words. and now, i knew that even if he didn’t remember me past a few fuzzy recollections of silly family hugs and helping me pick blueberries in the garden, that you would keep me alive in your own way, for both of you. my man and my boy, so brave.
i may have been a woman when you found me but when you lost me, i was your girl.
you had a way with me that kept me serene on the darkest of days. when i weakened, you strengthened me. when i smiled, your eyes lit up. when you held my face in your hands, i breathed.
i’m sorry to say goodbye. i will wander into this fog and find my way back to you. and i will be waiting for that day where your kisses are all i can see, once again.