You're Not Here

By Angela Bell

This new season is like a vicious spring with demanding blooms and ivy clawing and sun breaking and earth cracking. It's redefining everything I thought I knew about beauty being born of pain, for this rebirth is more pink than every blush you made me feel, every blotch on your precious skin, and more bruised than my lips I so often bit to prevent myself from telling you how much I loved you.

Childhood memories are resurfacing like the lily pads that would fill the creek when God's warm breath brushed over us each spring, and these memories are coming home to me in this foreign city like flocks of geese returning from a hellish cold. Memories are floating to the surface, ones I realized I never told you: of running through the meadow of bluebells as a little girl in the woods behind my house, of building teepees, inhaling the scent of moss and rich soil, of jumping off of dams, and spending hours in naked fields, searching for arrowheads.

My heart is blooming. I feel alive again.

But you haven't heard any of these because your time expired before this city awoke them within me. You could ask again though. You could break in like this new season, so gradually sudden like that summer day in 2013 when you just casually strolled into my cafe. That insignificant day when I found out you were staying.

You didn't know it yet, but you were about to be broken and face your own hell and resurrection too. And I was just pulling myself out of the grave.

But you were there that first time when I resurrected. I found you chilling outside of my tomb, and from right there, I walked with you to your Calvary and waited for you to come back. You took your time but you did eventually, and watching you rise was the greatest pleasure of my life. That sounds romanticized or whatever, but it's real. I promise.

Then too honest words, screwed up chapters, and a few continents later we stopped. Everything. And I crawled back into my grave.

We all must die to ourselves over and over, and sometimes we have to die to each other too. But we all rise again, right?

Then you became a fossil to me, one who made his mark in the dirt, stubbornly refusing to leave those memories, archived there as carefully as the specialist you are.

You became dead to me.

Life doesn't wait for anyone, they say. And in that darkness, the season began to beg and my heart hungered to live fully again. You're not at my tomb this time as I crawl out, but everything is new again. Everything is simple and sweet like nectar and hopeful and good and maybe you can find a place here again, maybe you can be more careful, maybe I'll let you back in. Maybe we were just hibernating, migrating, adapting, comprehending. Fine, I ran away, but so did you.

But rise again. Resurrect yourself, damn you, sir. Wake up next to me, and not like that. Because I'm waiting, you idiot. I know where your tomb is.

Chance brought us together again, and everything in me feels like it's coming back to life, and I want to stop wondering what skyscraper you work in. I want to hear your favorite memories again. I want to know how alive you feel.

Because I'm born again, but you? You're not here.