A crisp gust of wind bit into my face, reddening my cheeks and reminding me that winter had suddenly come upon us. Tugging my jacket a bit tighter around me, I took the stairs two at a time, then numbingly fumbled through the front door. With the slight chatter of teeth, I stomped my feet and waited for my eyes to adjust to the lightless space inside. Kicking off my shoes, I made my way through the emptiness to the waiting hum of machines and sat down.
Contemplating the darkness, I flipped the monitor on and checked my email, absently wishing that there was someone else here to turn the lights on for; someone who would warm the house, turn on the stove, and fill the bed beside me. Someone who could pepper the walls with noise, their voice echoing off the walls and ceiling, and through the vacant rooms of my heart.
There was a time in my life when I bought into a needful things philosophy, finding ways to cover these floors with furniture and possessions, hiding the grainy lines of age and experience. They have all been beautiful pieces, each one crafted with patience and tempered with fire, then placed with purpose; their significance understood by no one but me. However, for all my vaunted efforts, they would never be enough to fill these spaces–as they sat there empty, hollow and cold.
Surrounding myself with people had been my only shelter from the constant solitude. The oft-scattered clatter of shoes, and the whispers of the multitudes, kept me company as they passed through these halls. But they never lingered long enough to leave any impressions in the hardwood floors. Although they were many, they came and went like drifting phantoms in the night, disappearing at daylight, leaving me emptier than ever before.
I could have easily grown used to you being here–listening for your light padding footsteps, as you made your way through the halls. I could have easily loved the way your lilting voice and joyous laughter decorated the house, in ways that no piano, or flute, or tinkle of bells ever could. The dreams of growing used to your warming giggles floated there, just out of reach. They often surfaced during those sunny days spent skipping work, just to watch the sunrise from the shore. I could have really grown used to you, my devilish angel; a kindred spirit I could stay up all night with, pondering the wonders of the world.
Isn’t this what you’ve always wanted? To find in someone the right mix of challenge and compromise, a person you would want to win over? Someone who could care enough about you to envelope you in a blanket of security, but gave you the strength to unfurl your wings and watch you soar? Isn’t this what you always wanted–to have someone love you more than you loved yourself?
There are times where I miss you dearly, not knowing what you’re doing or where you are. But I can see you so clearly in those moments where I’m not even sure if my mind is coming or going. You laying there, curled up on the bed, encapsulated in a silk shell, feet tucked under you, snuggling away the winter in front of the tv. You were the one for me; with your bright eyes shining, smile always inviting, swallowing me up whole.
Staring out at the blustering winds, I can’t help but imagine you being here. Turning away from the windows and gazing into the empty darkness, I know now that I can’t see you anywhere. Those memories of you are spiked with warmth and joy, permeating the very corners of my soul, but then the empty chill floods these caverns and reminds me that you aren’t here.
As summer turned to fall, and fall turned to winter, winter will surely turn to spring. I wait with bated breath as a shell of a man waiting for new beginnings. So as the old year passes, I wrap myself in memories of days of future past, embraces long gone, and sensations almost entirely forgotten–ones that didn’t last.