“The one thing I can tell you is that you won’t survive for yourself. I know because I would never have come this far. A person who had no one would be well advised to cobble together some passable ghost. Breathe it into being and coax it along with words of love. Offer it each phantom crumb and shield it from harm with your body.” — Cormac McCarthy, The Road


Remind me again why we’re here. That the world owes none of us anything so I breathe in the way you felt in the shower, what it’s like to miss and be missed, the pull of watching your plane fly to a distant continent for the last time. I remember the songs you played and dinner you cooked as I lay surgically blinded in a dark room, and the way you pulled the curtains all those years ago as the afternoon storms rolled in and the pain medication had me hallucinating that the house was definitely and voraciously on fire.

Somewhere there’s a huge black widow crawling down the wall beside you while you tell that long story again, and I only bat my eyelashes asking you to *come sit next to me, sugar* and it’s only a split second that you’re in my arms before you see it and start shaking all over. You hate spiders. You thanked me.

I stay up late tracing my collarbone with the feel of your exhale, when we were new and always late for work and searching for our clothes in the blast radius of our bed. I reach into my pocket and touch the curve of a long-gone toy pony, the one I played with while you sold plasma so I could buy lunch at school. I know you stayed with me all those nights. I remember you combing my hair when you no longer knew who I was. And when you left, I know it was the kindest thing you knew to do at the time.

Thank you for teaching me to love so unconditionally, through all the names we graft onto these things as if we could ever define their tides. Thank you for holding my heart so patiently and well, until the day I realized it was never taken by you at all. It was freely given by me.

Thank you for all this and more. Thank you for all this, despite. Thank you for yes, Thank you for now, And thank you for everything yet to come.