“One for a secret, one for a riddle, name puss twice and befuddle the devil”
The heat surrounds you and melts to you like a second skin.
Like a garment you can wear, but is impossible to take off until the season turns.
I have dreamed of you all week and all I can feel is heartbroken.
I think maybe you are gone now.
Whenever I have dreamed of you before I was sure you were there, making the dreams gentle and full of love. But this week no longer, I think you have truly left and now my dreams are only my own.
I hope I am wrong, I’m not ready to lose that last tiny part of you.
You made me promise I’d go back and study the one thing I’d been interested in for the entire time we’ve known each other. All those other passionless qualifications and unfinished degrees could get stuffed.
I did. It took me six months since you were gone to bring myself to enroll, even then I had to do a panicked late enrollment. But I did it, it took eighteen months to finish, but now it’s done. I’m qualified. Maybe not the most academic path I’ve ever started down, but I loved every second of it and I’m so glad I did it. You were right. Of course.
You had a lot of plans for the place we would open together. You made it real with words. I kind of need you here to tell me what to do next. I finished two months ago and I’ve been stalling, this is the first time I will have to take a step without your input.
The first time in my entire adult life I will make a life choice without you. Without your enthusiasm and encouragement and endless opinions. Truly.
I am so lost without you. Lost and lonely for you. I don’t know how to take a new step without you. I miss you. I love you.
Sometimes, I worry because I know that you were my soul mate. I wonder “what does it mean now that you are gone?”
I don’t know in what way I believe in soul mates, but if we all are part of a soul searching to be whole, it was you who completed me. I know withoutquestion that it was you who had the other part of me.
So is it right that I now have a husband? Whom I love so very deeply, and yet I know his soul, though precious and loved and glorious is not the missing part of mine? I don’t know. Perhaps the love of your life does not need to be your soulmate, I think maybe these roles are happy to be given to different people?
I do know my soul was completed when I found you and now you are gone you have not taken with you the part that was originally missing from me, but some other, somehow much larger part.
How can I love and feel and find happiness again not only without you, but with a depleted version of myself? With so much of myself missing?
On the subject of missing, I miss you.
Today was Hercules last day. Your mum called me and I missed her call. She sent a message asking me to call her but she’d already called Léon and he’d told me.
I don’t know the details, Léon said he’d had a stroke and his legs weren’t working properly and it was the right time to let him go. The 27th March, only a day before what would have been your 29th birthday. I hope there is somewhere after this life and that despite the sadness here, you two are happy together.
He was our baby for such a long time. I remember when you adopted him on Valentine’s Day 2009. Bringing him back to our share house. I remember us all naming him. I remember you graciously bequeathing me with the title of “Hercules Other Mum”. That was the day we became the St.Valentines. The three of us, our little made up family within the mess of real families and friendships and boyfriends. Of course we adopted more pets and generously named them all St. Valentines. But that was different, really, it was you and me and Hercules, the mini lop bunny.
I never in my life would have thought that only eight years later I would be the only one still here. I miss you so much and now I will forever miss him too.
Our little family that was.
We can’t afford to buy this house, the last house we shared.
I’ll never forget the day you moved in, leaving you welcome notes on your window and coming home to celebratory times.
I’ll never forget that week, not long after you moved in, when Léon had to leave to go away for work for three months. Just me and you and a lounge room toaster and too much tv and vegan snacks and onesies and twice as many pets as people.
I’ll never forget when you were sick in bed, coming home to find you still curled up, insisting you needed to go to the doctor and to call your mum.
I’ll never forget the day you came home and told me they weren’t sure what it was yet, and listing the possibilities.
I’ll never forget coming home and you were already there.
I’ll never forget the feeling as my heart fell to my knees. The adrenaline and fear.
I’ll never forget asking you what you wanted to do, I don’t know what I thought the answer would be, but maybe I should have been more surprised when it was – ‘go to a punk show and get boozy’.
I’ll never forget the day you got your port, or your first week of chemo, or being told what to do should there be a chemo drugs spill.
I’ll never forget the helplessness, lying in your bed and stroking your back, making endless toast and facetiming you with your cat from home while you were in hospital.
I’ll never forget that you didn’t want me to help, didn’t want me to do the things you couldn’t, and being hurt you wouldn’t let me. But also trying really hard to not be hurt, because I did understand why.
I’ll never forget the day you said you needed to move back to your parents home, we both knew it was coming.
I’ll never forget decorating that last Christmas tree at home with you, just before you moved out of the house.
I’ll never forget when you told me you didn’t want to die.
And now we can’t keep our little old house. We just can’t afford it. We will move out and it will be sold and inevitably knocked down to make room for some mansion for a rich family.
But maybe you would think with all those unpleasant memories I wouldn’t want to stay?
No, even with all of those things, it is still the happy times that shine brightest. The laughter, the ridiculous times. Every smile, every corner, every step, every artwork placement, every conversation, every drink, every getting ready to go some place, all the friends, every inch of that terrible patio, every bit of paint damage, all of it is happy memories.
I’m sorry I can’t keep it for you. I know how much home meant to you, and I know what it meant when you told me it feels like home here.