I let you go in increments. The handfuls of you that I gripped so close to my heart. I peel open a finger, just half way and watch the bits of you slip out the hole.
I know it won’t be long until my palm is open and the shards of you will blow about and away with every step and breath of the life I have to build without you. They will scatter despite my best efforts and my hopes and dreams.
Until nothing is there but the indents and impressions of memories and the faint shape of you.
My hands resist. My heart aches and flips in my chest and I understand that it is physically broken, that it is representing the pain my metaphoric heart feels.
I look at you in pictures. I scan your face to try and decode, trying to find a place to triangulate what the picture says and what my heart says and what your words said. Editing our history with a marking pen. Slashing through laughter. Scribbling through smiles. X’ing through languid peace that I’m afraid I’ll never find again.
Annika took the picture. Your arm is behind me. Our heads are leaning towards each other. My hand is on your leg. We discovered that nearly all of us got altitude sickness. We are leaned into each other, our sunglasses pushed onto the top of our heads to smile at our baby.
I hover over that moment, red pen in hand. It was a good day. You seemed happy. You seemed carefree. We had the best dinner at a little restaurant beside a river and I couldn’t wait to go back there. With you. How do I edit this? Which way do I mark it? What do I slash apart? What do I tear away?
I say my husband as much as I can, while I still can. I remember the lilt of my heart when I would hear you call me your wife. Even after all this time. I twist the ring on my finger while I still have the right to wear it there. I rest my head on your side of the bed. I mound the pillows, subconsciously, into a form that I could pretend was you.