I know I had come across true love once, and I know it because the feeling still burns in my bones. I met him at the age of 4, his name was Elijah.
Never in a million years would I have thought that I would see him fade into colorless dust, brushing away to coat the earth and never be found,
leaving his family like a shipwreck in a never-ending tide. Elijah, oh how much I could have done for you, how much I could have done to save you.
But in my seven year old shoes, I stood paralyzed as menacing arms gripped mine, with a scolding voice that replayed over and over in my head.
One day, we were going to stare deep into each-others eyes, telling ourselves it was where we wanted to be for the rest of our lives.
We were going to run in our adult shoes, playing tag, until our legs didn't work anymore. That was our true fate, not this. Nothing would have burnt us to the ground.
But now I live with a demon always sitting on my shoulder. He likes to laugh at me for what I've done, reminding me of the horrors over again, just as soon as I try to move on.
He binds me with chains of silence, he binds me with a closed mind. He draws the man who burnt my clothes, the man who burnt your life. Elijah, I could have saved you.
Elijah... One day, I hope you will forgive me.
But do you remember our last day together, Elijah? The one where we walked home from school through fields of gold, spinning the earth beneath our feet?
Do you remember the sun and how it melted the clouds beneath it, revealing the freckles on our faces? Our hands intertwined unconsciously, as our tiny hearts beat like racing drums.
We ran until our laughter knocked us down, and stayed until the sky was coated with marmalade. If only we could have frozen the moment and never moved on.
If only we could have both stayed in our seven year old bodies. If only I had never been given the opportunity to grow up alone.
I wish our hands stayed intertwined the whole way through. I wish we closed our eyes, and imagined the sun was melting us into the fields of gold. I wish my little legs didn't learn to escape.
I wish it was me instead of you, so that you could have run home to your family, letting them know everything was okay.
And in this moment, I wish the fires that covered you could dry my tears.