I can’t help but scowl as I approach the building.
Same structure – subtle differences.
Those same three trees, all pine,
Sprouted between the rocks we used to climb as kids.
Waiting for our mothers to end their conversations.
But that was years ago; we’ve all grown old now.
Walking inside, I remember every corner.
My mental map folds itself away.
There is no comfort in this familiarity.
I am here for a reason:
A gathering of mourners to my left.
But instead, I turn right.
Walking past new paintings, the same scent of stale coffee fills the air.
I pause at the wall of windows.
Looking in, I know I will be alone.
As I pull the door open, an all-too-familiar rush of air
fills my lungs with an intimacy I cannot explain.
Yet the sound of its emptiness completely takes my breath away.
The vacant seats feel as hallow as my heart was the last time I was here.
This was where we said goodbye.
This is where I exhaled, released.
But now I am gasping.
I cannot make my legs walk down the aisle.
I stand with my back against the door.
This room always felt as though someone left a window open:
Airy and unfilled and eerily brisk.
I feel the panic rising.
My heart races with the lack of yours here.
I whisper your name.
I want to cry out but I don’t,
For fear of an echo I’m not quite sure I’m ready to hear.
I whisper your name with each breath that I catch.
Collecting pieces of myself that I dropped on this floor six years ago.
Gathered, I turn and leave.
The wounds will heal with time
but right now, they need to open up and breathe.
Even though it hurts like hell.