Gentle sunlight from the break of dawn lights the world in the palest pastels.
Though clouds cover the dome of the sky, day’s light breaks its way through, ray by ray.
Barren trees, leafless from fall, have been decorated in winter’s first frost.
Their glistening limbs that twist and reach for the sky, accompany my walk.
A small smile grows on my lips, carving teensy curves into my cheeks.
Fresh, cool air fills my nose. A cloud of haze escapes when I exhale, curling into the air and dissipating.
I twirl the stem of a flower in my fingers absentmindedly. Under my shoes, with each step I take on the frail layer of ice, a crackle met my ears.
In every stride, my thoughts deepen and morning around me fades.
Fingers entwined in mine. Next to me, where you’ve always been, your steps match mine.
Squeezing my hand, you swing around to walk in front of me. I take your other hand in my free one.
Our arms sway together and my smile stretches across my face.
Your eyes glint with a hint of mystery, always aloof and unpredictable. I love that, not knowing what you’ll do next. It keeps things interesting.
I’m always on my toes and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Wind blows hair in my face and as I release one of your hands to move it away, I find it moving on it’s own.
You tuck the strands of my hair behind my ear, now directly in front of me.
Your nose bumps mine when our eyes lock and I’m drawn into them, ever entranced by you.
The world melts away when I look into your eyes because to me, you’re the only true world that I see.
Then we walk again, you back by my side. Along the path, our steps in unison, we walk and walk with no real end in mind.
All of a sudden, our hands break apart and you’re sprinting away. I take off after you, laughing. When you turn your head, your taunting me as I try to catch up.
Finally I catch you at the entrance of a park and I catch my breath, leaning against a tree.
I grin again, glancing over when I’ve caught my breath but you’ve disappeared.
Turn once around, I check behind a nearby tree, hoping to catch you hiding there, but instead, I find the bark of the tree and I whirl around once more.
Perhaps you’ve climbed it and you’re holding back your joyous giggle high up in the air but when I raise my eyes to the sky, you’re not there and I twirl ‘round thrice more.
You’ve gotten good at your hide and seek game but I’ll find you, just as I always do.
But, with each spin, frustration grows. Where’ve you gone? Why insist on disappearing? I shout your name, watching my breath in the air but no response comes and I swivel around once more.
This time when my eyes sweep the area, I find what I’ve been looking for.
You’re stood only a few feet away, arms outstretched with a grin on your face.
Wind blows at your hair and your cheeks are red from the cold but your laughing at me, grinning gleefully and sending joy out into the air.
Sighing, I sprint to you, my own arms ready to catch you in a hug. But I blink and hurriedly skid to a halt.
You’re gone again and I drop my arms down. I repeat myself as I turn and turn but you’re nowhere to be found. And a pit swallows my heart whole as my eyes drop to the ground.
Ignoring the itch behind my eyes, I drop to my knees and cross one leg over the other.
From the grey clouds, snow drifts down. It dusts the ground and stone in white. One hand stretched out, I sweep the little flakes from your stationary smile.
But more replace those, a gentle blanket over the picture inlaid in a headstone.
In my palm lies the single flower I plucked from the last vase of living flowers at home. It’s stem is slightly crushed but it’s petals are still pristine.
I lay it on the ground, no longer bothering to hold back my tears. “I dreamt of you.” I whisper, my words as frail as the wind.
“Last night… and the night before… and before that too."
Silence hung around me as the cold seeped through my jeans. “Every night, I dream of you.”
Your still smile stares back at me and despite my tears, I smile back, almost hearing your laughter in the air.
I can imagine it clear as the day I last heard it but every time I do, it seems softer.
I brush a fresh, salty drop away before it freezes to my face. It slides off my thumb and lands on the flower, creating a perfect melted circle in the thin layer of snow.
“Every night and every day… and last night I dreamt that you came back to me. You always liked to be unpredictable. Wanted to keep me on my toes. I dreamt it was all just a stupid trick."
I shake my head, almost laughing but that feeling soon fades.
I can barely hear my own voice when I whisper, “Last night, I dreamt you came back.”
And my last words are barely audible as they rise in the back of my throat. It’s hard but I try to force them out and choke.
"Please come back."