Initial

Written By: Danielle Ly

I trace my fingertip over the hollows of the tree, following the knots of bark. I press my cheek against it, hugging the tree close.

I miss you, often.

When there is a moment of silence in between the shouts of everyday life, I find myself far away. I see myself sitting with you, on the hood of your car, watching the stars. I can hear your voice sometimes, laughing on the train. I see your face in crowds of people.

And then in a rush, I am back to my life, running. After it all happened - not right away, but a many months later, when I was alright again - I still found myself taking days off to drive myself up to that hill, sit on the hood of my car, and close my eyes, pretending you’re still there.

I lean my back against the tree, pull my legs to me, and rest my chin on my knees.

I remember your funeral very well.

They dressed you up the way you hated. They placed white roses all over your much too big casket. I wanted to slip in with you before they lowered you into the ground - a life without you? I could never imagine.

I remember my eyes had been so tired from all the crying, I could barely see. Everything was strained and blurry. But your face was in such vivid detail. You looked like you were sleeping, and for a moment, I thought you were and I breathed a sigh of relief.

What a funny joke, I would have said when you opened your eyes. What a rude thing to do, I would have told you.

But you never opened your eyes again. You just lay there, silent and unmoving. And I cried more and more because I knew that you weren’t coming back to me.

No more late nights driving in your car, no more laughing until our ribs hurt, no more arguing over you being late to meet up, no more dinners at each other’s houses.

No more you.

I still cry, when I think a bit too much about what you would have been now, if you were still alive. You would have been so successful, and so happy. I just know it. I have to smile at that, that even without any proof - I feel it in my heart, the happiness you would have felt.

I hope you know, no matter how many years pass, you are always aching in my soul, a home away from home lies in my bones for you. You are my heart.

I face the tree again, running my finger tip over the indent that are your initials.

The loveliest name I would ever know.