She died in the spring, in defiance of the riot of life that comes after a harsh winter. No florals for me. I stand at her grave, half silhouette, half sentry, and wholly nothing. I don’t put flowers on her grave, as it seems to me an insult. As if I’m saying ‘look here, look at these colours you’ll never know. The scent you’ll never smell again. Here’s a reminder of the life that was stolen from you. Isn’t it beautiful?’ Instead, I place small effigies of her gorgeous rot: gifts from the cat, roadkill, found bones. I think she would find these infinitely more beautiful than lilies.
The sun rules with an iron fist; the gentle, pale moon can only wait in the wings for her meagre five hour reign. I left my grief out to harden in the oppressive summer heat, and now it is strong enough to form my foundation. It will be eternal and fixed. Tears evaporate from my cracked lips and angry cheeks, my numb mind bakes. Friends and family know my flatmate died, but they can’t figure out why, months later, it is not only sweat constantly rolling down my cheeks. Perhaps they think it’s the shock of a life lost so early.
Everything changes, and yet nothing changes. How can our friends go apple picking and enjoy themselves without her? I go, because without her I lack the momentum to make a change. BUt at least I have the good taste to hate every minute of it. And how can anyone stave off the settling cold without the warmth of her smile? I swaddle myself in endless layers of drab, lifeless greys, in stark resistance to the fiery leaves, who rage at the fading light while I quietly succumb, welcoming the encroaching darkness that hides her absence.
Winter should have brought silence that matched hers. Instead it brought omnipresent joy. I’m a salmon, fighting through the cheer. I long for January’s malaise, with its frozen grayscale landscapes, conspicuously bare after holiday decorations. My weekly visits to her grave can now be less about my own respite and more about her. The snow crunches beneath my boots as I wade through a sea of tombstones to be by her side. A lifetime passes, then I notice them. Delicate snow drops emerging from the snow. I stand, learning unspoken truths. My foundation cracks. I smile. I feel warm.