Aggie was awaken by the jarring sound of her “mourning” alarm — set to wake her at the exact time, on the exact day of the worst of her days this far. The day Cam’s soul outlived his body and he journeyed to his next purpose. At least, that’s what she told herself.
”He’s out there,“ Aggie reassured herself. “He’s living his next and his best life.”
But there was something about him that lingered in a way that was… tangible. She swore some days that she saw Cam, from the corner of her eye, resting against a wall with his arms gently crossed and his head titled in admiration as he watched her.
So her insistence that his soul had traveled onward was purposeful both in comforting her grief, and dismissing the haunting feeling that he was not quite gone just yet.
The dismissal was dwindling in effectiveness as of late. And today, as she woke to her alarm at 5:45 AM, she was met with a sixth sense telling her, “you have yet to see”, and that she would soon be unable to ignore the shadows in the corners of her vision for better or worse.
As Aggie lay in bed adjusting to consciousness, she could already sense Cam’s warmth next to her. Sometimes, she nestled into it; shifting back towards his side of the bed they once shared in the house that once was their home. Sometimes, the shiver up her spine brought comfort rather than unnerving. Today, she met his warmth with a sharp inhale as it triggered the memory of her waking on the day of Cam’s passing on.
“Come back to me,” she begged the presence. “Come back to me fully or not at all.”
Her cheeks were overcome with wetness, which ran down her face and on to her pillow atop a familiar stain from sorrows past. She pictured Cam in her mind; his wild brown hair, his dappled cheeks, and his horrible morning breath. She envisioned his warm, rough hands on her shoulders and turning around to be met by forest eyes and furrowed brows.
”I mean it,” she argued into the nothingness. “You come back or you leave me alone. I can’t believe that you’ve done this to me. You can’t leave me in limbo this way. This is… this is the worst thing you’ve ever done to me.”
Aggie felt a persistent presence, and then a movement like a gentle ocean current suddenly pass over her. She quickly turned over in bed and realized that she was alone; no Cam, and no presence. She was almost annoyed. Slowly, she made her way from the bed to the ensuite and washed away last nights makeup, then towards the windows to air the room as she showered — Cam was meant to repair the shower fan — then lazily trodded down the hall towards the kitchen.
Aggie stopped dead in her tracks.
”I’ve made you a coffee,” a familiar frame in the doorway stated. “Come.”
Cam stood, arms crossed, leant against the wall of the doorway to the kitchen; a coffee in hand. This was not a peripheral vision. Aggie was stunned and stone-footed. It seemed like an eternity passed, while her husbands‘ figure smiled on and waited patiently.
”How?” She breathed. “How have you come back to me?”
”Darling,” Cam replied with a flat, but soothing, tone. “Are you certain you haven’t come to me?”
Before Aggie could lose herself in thought and memory, Cam suddenly approached her and asked, “besides… would it matter?”
”No,” Aggie replied. “No, I suppose it doesn’t.”
”Then let’s have coffee; today and every day until the end of our time.”
your heart stopped answering mine when it calls
yet, somehow, they still beat in sync.
i long for the days when your kiss felt like kissing,
and i could for long feel it lingering still.
i ache for the days when your touch felt blistering,
and of you i could not get my fill.
we exist parallel to one another,
mirror the reflection of a rosy-tinted past,
at times i hear my head say, “why bother“,
but my soul screams, “without him, we won’t last”.
i need to be held as if you’d just returned
from a time-traveling journey to a future without me.
i was so calmed by the ocean in your eyes
that i did not see the storm on your horizon
forget the captain; i went down with this ship.
the thing about baggage is that it travels very well,
and along its many journeys, it writes stories it can tell.
as carefully as you pack it up
it often becomes messy;
things do not remain where they were when you got them ready.
the thing about baggage is that the cleaner that you keep it
the lesser that it's traveled and the longer that you need it.
as time and distance weather it,
your baggage becomes lighter;
you learn to travel with your needs and zip it up much tighter.
you will notice that with your baggage that the farther that it's carried,
the kind of things you keep inside will begin to vary,
maybe it can contain less,
maybe it grows stronger,
maybe it has lost a wheel and can't be pulled much longer.
maybe you're late to your flight when your baggage just bursts open,
and all the things you worked so hard to pack away are showing,
you quickly pick your baggage up,
you feel like you're embarrassed,
but you're not the only person in the airport to unintentionally bare it.
the other thing about our baggage is that it's not ours on our own,
we let our loved ones take the handle when we are heading home,
and strangers sometimes take our baggage
to places where we can't see it
we may not know the reason or know how they're going to treat it.
at times we lose a piece of what we kept inside our suitcase,
sometimes that item being lost forces you into a new place,
unprepared and overwhelmed
in foreign territories,
take that weathered, messy baggage and keep writing its stories.
I have lived in a moment for all too long, and I have longed for that moment much too strongly.
Disorient is my new direction as I resurface from my fantastical dream. I only knew what I'd created and with each repetition, I'm sure that I facilitated another new version of the memory that existed from so many years before. Was it really all familiar? After such time, I couldn't tell. I selfishly bestowed creative liberties upon myself and twisted something that was certainly beautiful enough as it existed... I couldn't tell the distorted versions now from what was realistic. I suppose when we grieve it is for our own selves and not just for the ones that we've lost. We never just lose someone else, but a part of us; a future and a narrative we have yet to see unfold has been cost. So, we rewrite all of the potentials and the outcomes that could or may have been; and we reroute our sadness into something more malleable and fictional that we can start to comprehend as real. We grieve what we wanted and what we would have created. And I kept imagining endings that I no longer hated until finally, it felt like the hurt was well enough distanced. With that, though, I distanced what goodness and love and connection we had... a sacrifice I eventually was willing to accept.
I have lived in a moment for all too long, and now of my design, I can let that moment die.
your past may follow but, remember, all things that cast a shadow must be headed towards the light
do it because it fuels you, even when it cannot feed you
do it because it heals you, even when it cannot help you
do it because it fills your heart, even when your pockets are empty
do it because it lifts you up in a world where all seems dim and heavy
do it because it makes you happy, even when it cannot make you rich
do it because it waters the soil in which your growth begins
do it because it makes you happy, even when it cannot make you cash
do it because the tallest trees grow towards the sunniest path
do it while you are hungry
do it while you are hopeless
do it while you are broken
and do it while you have hurt unspoken
do it even when you are unheard
and even when you are unseen
do it because you were born to create, and live, and learn, and dream.
When you look over your shoulder
and your shadows do still follow
You are safe.
When on your chest there sits a boulder
and your heart beats slow and shallow,
You are safe.
When you hear him in a silence
and your ghosts begin to gather
You are safe.
When you observe familiar violence
and you feel as if you’re shattered
You are safe.
When you sense the sting of sadness
and you start to wonder why
When your mind gets filled with madness
and though it’s far-removed, you cry
When you ask questioned unanswered
and you dwell on what was taken
When you start to empathize and
ask yourself, “was I mistaken?”
Take a moment to let it flood
Let the hurt boil your blood
Breathe in deeply, let it out
You are safe where you are now.
Maybe loneliness comes when the body outlives the soul.