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The drive up the lane seems like one up that of a retirement center’s,

Long checkout times, I bet.

Inside, potted shrubs (fake) and floral arrangements (not fake) share space, side-by-side.

Every room has places to sit, but unsurprisingly everybody stands.

Alongside or in front of each couch are tables, each table holds a box of tissues.

I flirt with one of Her friends guiltily and inwardly try to guess her age.

My nephew runs about happily ignorant, a stark contrast to everyone else.

Back outside, the pond is frozen thick, the cold goes deep enough to support a man.

Undoubtedly however, other waterworks will flow freely.

Quite and sobriety surround us now, soft, slow, padding, footsteps down-the-way.

A picture is put up. Flowers. Comments are made on the prettiness of the bouquets and how I should use the same company for senior graduation.

Words are said. Wind. Air is gasped. Notes are not used. Mother forgets to look at hers. She shivers and blinks a little. Some minutes pass.

I learn how much She loved to travel, and that her cat will be taken care of, and that She danced at the YMCA.

Wet soil on dry ash. It’s quiet. 80-plus years boiled down, distilled, boxed into, downsized, shrunk, crammed, shrunk, abbreviated, sifted through, and cut to 20 minutes.

I go home and play videogames.

The funeral home is forgotten.

V

I write this on the night of New Years Day, supposedly a new beginning for everyone. So why can’t I sleep? Just hours ago I had made resolutions for the future, yet now, my thoughts are wandering aimlessly, despondently, through the past. I’m falling into you months after I walked away from your edges.

I don’t understand, what happened? Stories about your little sister and bitching about Suckramento turned to a smooth drifting, cool conversation turns, then dial tones and radio silence. There’s a little drawing and polaroid you gave me, on the last day I saw you. We haven’t seen each other since, and I understand how hard it was, is, for us to stay relevant to each other still. We won’t see each other, if ever, for years at the very least. Until then, I may not be able to emphasize with how much your teacher suck, or with how hot it is in Dallas (especially in chilly Seattle). You most likely won’t understand the depths of how much I struggle with Spanish or my car in the morning yet, the lead crossed fingers I’m reminiscing now upon remind me that the ukelele girl and single-strap boy between my trembling fingers made a promise. Did that promise and everything else, singing on a stage and on lawns, running through warm the nights, sleeping on summer rooftops, debates on teenager moral codes (“No, we’re drinking sparkling apple cider, put those damn stupid thoughts out of your mind”), sneaking into each others dorms, did all that…vanish?

So it seemed, life went on. But thoughts of you would resurface between the weeks, between the days. It was us and the drawing on the wall, yes, but other things as well. How many times did I think, let her go? How many times could I not? Thoughts of it being a phase turned stale while the memories themselves remained fresh as ever.

So here I am, still wondering why. Maybe I messed up. You were lonely when you first got to Dallas, and there I was bitching about being in Asia. I tried to redirect you to local friends and gave too much advice instead of friendship. I’m sorry. Upon my return home, I realized my memory had failed me. Everything was sweeter remembered then in reality. The people here, they make me so tired V. They’re the type to sit together on their phones and run through the night only to get to New Years saving events. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize how much, how full of life you are.

Or maybe you were a summer breeze, that I just need to now let out and through me.