Familiar with the unfamiliar
“What do you think the river feels when it finally unites with the sea?” she asked, tracing a cloud with her finger.
My eyes followed the movement, trying to discern the shape- a turtle, perhaps? Or maybe it was just a mindless pattern.
“Do you think Pluto ever reaches for the sun?” I countered, turning my eyes back to the horizon.
“When will I ever get a straight answer from you?” she let out a low laugh, her eyes squinting as the sun emerged from the clouds again.
I stared at the blank page before me, the memory slipping away from my eyes. My therapist had told me to jot down what I was feeling. But how could I encompass my grief in words? How could the simple act of scribbling a few lines take my anger away?
I felt the silent emotions clawing their way out of my throat. My grief had unpacked its things in my body and had refused to leave, deciding to make a home out of me. It had brought its companions with it; the denial, the pain, the anger.
They were hostile in their advances, and I was all alone.
There wasn’t anything I could do to fend them off. Nothing I could do except making myself smaller and smaller, hoping they wouldn’t notice me sitting in my corner, curled up with my arms around me as if I had to hold myself together to keep myself from physically falling apart.
But all that did was allow them more space to take over, expand, and conquer.
I sighed, losing the battle and closing the journal with a snap. The chair scraped against the floor as I got up, almost tripping over in my haste to grab my leather-bound journal and walk out of my house.
I blinked as the warm summer air hit my face as soon as I stepped out.
It was strange how the summer used to instill new hope in me. Now it was just a mere change of the weather. It was as if I was a lone bystander, observing the movements my body made and the scenery my eyes witnessed. A narrator and an observer muffled in the background, no longer a participant.
It was only when I was standing before her that I realized where my steps had taken me. I had always been weirdly fascinated with graveyards, imagining the stories of every soul buried beneath the soil every time I passed one. But that changed when she made a home out of it.
I looked down at her grave, seeing that someone had placed flowers on it. The summer air pressed down on my lungs, and far off in the road, a siren faded away into the distance.
I sat down on the ground, tucking my feet beneath my legs. The gravestone had one single line carved onto it:
“Until we meet again”
After a few minutes of silence, I slowly opened my journal, the words coming to me before I had even uncapped my pen:
“When the river unites with the sea,” I wrote, “it rejoices in the knowledge that it is finally home after a beautiful journey. That it is safe, and that it has found the place where it belongs. I hope you have too.”
I looked up after that, a smile flickering on my face. The thing about my grief was that it had started to feel familiar, and maybe I wasn’t ready to let go of it so soon. Maybe, for now, I’d let it be my companion.