That summer was electric, a perfect violent storm of youth. We'd been emboldened to live life out loud, challenged to see things differently than the generation before us. We were often without a path but never without the vigor to travel. We were seekers and charlatans, jokers and adventurers, compelled to change a world we knew nothing about.
It comes to me in unceasing waves, memory after memory... the taste of salty popcorn lips, unbridled laughter echoing through the parking lot, sticky heat sweltering bodies not yet tested by age and hardship... the juxtaposition of cotton candy and pot smoke wafting over the barely adequate breezes June had to offer... I remember it all.
I remember how I would light a cigarette, draw in the poison and look at you with heavy lidded eyes, wondering if you saw the fire under my skin and knowing I could see the fire under yours. Drawn together out of need, our solitary planetary bodies colliding in spaces where no sound traveled... until you, there was no one who could see me. Once there was you, I knew no loneliness.
That winter was bereft of light, a cold and endless night of aching need. It was 28 years ago today that I stood beside your casket and stared numbly into a face rendered strange by wax and artifice. Surrounded by silk and empty gestures, there was nothing left of us. We were no more and your absence pulled apart space and time, creating a hole nothing could ever fill.
It comes to me in unceasing waves, memory after memory... the taste of salty tears on my lips, uncontrolled sobs of loss echoing in my heart, disillusioned youth in the realization that we were not, indeed, immortal... the juxtaposition of the joy my own child brings me and the pang his middle name creates when spoken aloud... I embrace the pain of it all.
I stand in this cemetery and light a cigarette... draw in the poison and stare at the cold marble stone with stinging, tired eyes. I can sometimes hold onto a memory of the warmth between us for a moment, see our fire behind my eyes... but then only a hint of a ghost of a memory remains to sustain me. Drawn here to this place out of need, a solitary figure that no one can see. Once you were gone, I knew only loneliness.