It was the same every night, the sea air that seemed to keep the birds gliding in mid air as they screamed out their constant dissent. The light always white, always blinding kept me in the shadows, him in the forefront but we still reached for one another. Hoping - always so full of hope as we reached across the fissure of rocks. Fissure was an understatement, it was so much bigger than that. It felt like a whole lifetime away, but I was too afraid to look down.
The breeze licked around me, my hair wrapping around my throat as though it were trying to cut off any oxygen getting to me, but I could breathe.
I was calling his name, but my voice had no volume, just gentle sighs replacing the lilting vowels and consonants. I felt as though I was losing him, the void between us growing and crumbling as it fell into the silent crashing waves below us. Everything was so muted because he was there.
He was there.
The light, brighter than anything else surrounding me was ebbing as though dancing to it's own song. A silent song that seemed to match the beat of my heart. It picked up as my fear became palpable, it breathed it's own breaths through my mouth as I realized I was losing him for good.
This was where it always turned, this was where the light and the darkness bled together to show me the picture I refused to see. I didn't know why I continued to shout and scream at the man that was lit up like a beacon in front of me. His hand was still reaching for me, but his head was turning to the light, the small smile growing into an angelic smile on his full familiar lips.
I wanted to be able to call out his name so he would look at me, but the muted sound that fell from my lips didn't carry over the growing distance between us. It was then that I tried to move, tried to step forward into the light with him so he wouldn't leave me. I couldn't move though, my feet were like lead weights melted to the spot that held me away from him against my will.
Panic became my only companion in the cold shadow of his glorious light. I knew what this was, I knew what was transcending before my eyes. There was never any stopping it, I knew it the moment his arm fell to his side. He gave me one last look, his eyes full of sorrow but not for himself. No, I can see the sorrow is reserved for me as I stand welded to the spot screaming silence at him.
Everything went silent, the birds, the muted sound of the ocean and even my breaths. Even my own thoughts left me as his lips parted for the first time.
"Don't give up, baby. Live, live your life everyday. I'll be waiting for you."
A solitary tear ran silently down my cheek as my throat closed over with my silent sobs. I wanted to scream don't leave me, I wanted to scream take me with you. Conflicting emotions tearing apart my heart like the expanse that lay between us.
I wake up screaming, finding my voice as the gasps of air filter down past the lump in my throat. I know it won't belong before my bedroom door is thrown open and my best friend comes stampeding in here. She does every night because I wake up like this every night.
I see the light before I hear her footfalls and I try to regain my breath and sanity in the darkness of my room, but it's no use. His name is still on my lips, his face still behind my eyelids, his voice ringing in my ears.
"Jo, are you alright?" Jennifer asks as she reaches my bed and perches on the edge.
Am I alright? Will I ever be alright? For now I shake my head, because I am so far from sanity I'm scared. He's gone, he's been gone for three months and yet the nightmares plague me every night. They never change, they never fail. They are the one constant in my life.
"He's gone," I say my voice breaking as the restraint completely crumbles and I let go. My body folds in half as my heart tears into pieces of shattered lifeless shards. I can feel the hole in my chest just as sure as I can feel Jennifer's hands brushing the raven strands of hair down my back.
Jennifer is silent as I fall apart. She knows there's nothing she can say that will fix this. Yes, he is gone, but I should have been more prepared, I knew the risks, I knew the pain that would come if the treatment failed, yet I had wanted to be his strength, the shoulders to carry his burden so he could concentrate on getting well again.
Even with the burden I had accepted, it had not happened. His body had rejected the treatment and they gave him only weeks to survive, yet I foolishly held on to hope as though it were my right, as though I could create my own divine intervention because I loved him so much.
I would never regret those years we had together. He taught me how to love, how to live and see each new day as something to be cherished. I lived for him, and only him now. Fighting the pain that would make it so easy to give up, so I could do the things we always talked about doing together.
Jen picks me up from the bed as my sobs subside. I know what we're going to do, mainly because it was my idea to begin with.
"You ready to put this away tonight?" she asks me, knowing that this is the only time I allow myself to grieve. I nod my assent as she sits me at the small writing desk.
I tear a small piece of paper from the notebook and write the words I write after I breakdown. It's the only words I know to use. It's the words that say everything for me because I know this isn't what he would want me to do.
Jenn does her part and takes the picture to put in the album with the rest of the pictures. I will continue to breathe for him, I will do everything on the life list he wrote for me. All but one demand will be fulfilled on that thing. Jen kisses my forehead before pushing me back to bed and encouraging me to sleep and that tomorrow is another day.
Left in the darkness I whisper goodnight to the man I know will wait for me. The man that I love.