Here I am—a self-professed writer, an enigma of defiance, a lost soul facing another nine, unable to produce a single thought without drifting backward through time to the last time I saw his face or kissed his fading lips. My defiance lurks in the shadows as I attempt to produce words to enunciate my journey of overcoming mediocrity.
Today my journey includes producing a psychological analysis of a prolific author long gone and a glorified comic presenting undertones of Marxism. Seemingly simple tasks for an English major, but not for a soul enduring time’s stagnation during another nine. Trying to explain how a fake Superman presents a domineering patriarchal society as the bourgeoisie proves to be my own kryptonite, at least on this nineteenth day of October. My battle that always begins on the fourteenth of any given month escalates five days later and explodes as I fall three days after until I reach rock bottom of my downward spiral. He has been gone for an excruciatingly long forty-six months today and time does little to lessen the gap his absence leaves.
Here I am—a self-professed writer unable to write, an enigma of defiance lost in mediocrity, a lost soul succumbing to another nine. I am truly an icon of insignificance. I am the embodiment of solitude.
Today I played a game of make-believe, much as I did during childhood. I think it is something we all do at some point. Perhaps not when we are nearing fifty, but at some point in life—we play the game either to escape reality or simply to enhance reality. Every month I sink into a pit of self-pity around the fourteenth through the twenty-second. For me, they are dates signifying the end of happiness, future, and the beginning of loss. I steel myself to those days each month until it culminates into the inevitable annual anniversary of my love’s death. Those days are the darkest—December 14 through Christmas—my days of darkness—a “Long December.” But in my December, “there’s [no] reason to believe . . . this year will be better than the last” (Vickrey, et al. ~Counting Crows~).
My game of make-believe did not include princess tiaras or dress-up, but rather pretending that he sat in his usual spot while I stood in front of the oven stirring soup. I turned toward his chair talking to the air as though he were sitting there. Perhaps he was because I could see his smile. We laughed. Our conversation lasted only for a moment, and then I sank to the floor as I realized it was not real—it was only make-believe. He will never sit in his chair again. I will never hear his laughter again. I will never see his smile again. We will never be together again. All those thoughts hit me with full force. I stayed on my knees with my head in my hands sobbing.
I had never watched the leaves so intently as during that brisk day near October’s end. Their dying dance hypnotized me. One lone leaf caught my full attention as it danced in the wind to join what I believed must have been its lover. I thought . . . it does not want to dance alone; it wants to dance one last time with its partner. The two clung tightly to each other as a gust of wind lifted them skyward and they floated back to the ground gracefully. It was a beautiful dance. They joined as though they were kissing each other goodbye. They lie still, never to dance again. I continued to stare intently as I wiped my cheek and the wind brushed my arm. And I thought . . . I just witnessed the most elegant last dance in the world. I envied those leaves.
I spent the first forty-four years of my life wearing blinders. I sympathized with others, but I lacked the insight into what true loss means. His death brought me to a new level of understanding, one that devastated me. . . but it gave me new eyes, a new perception, and a new awareness. I could see not only into their eyes, but also into their souls. I could feel their pain and I wondered had he cried so hard and for so long that he forgot to breathe and nearly suffocated under the weight of the enormous pain. I wondered whether she had cried so much that the seemingly endless well of tears had an end indeed. I wondered if she curled into a ball gasping for air while her hands grasped for some invisible thread of hope. I looked into hundreds of sets of eyes, feeling their souls . . . just wondering if they cried so hard and for so long that they realized they could stop smiling. I wondered whether their smiles were weapons they wielded like swords. I wondered when they would surrender their weapons. I just wondered . . .