It was a statement, a social comment, and a hug all rolled into one. The syntax was slow and delicate with the vowels protracted and soft. The tone inflected in it was critical but playful, telling me off but in a gentle manner. Cosseted, akin to a mother gently berating a child so that they know where the boundaries are.
"That was silly now wasn't it?"
The muscles around my mouth twitch into a suggestion of a smile as I ram the remnants of the chocolate biscuit into my mouth, my guilty pleasure and source of chastisement. The swallowing of evidence is not an attempt to hide it, rather a rebellious defiance that I actually have finished the whole packet of biscuits and loved it. My head is held high in mock defiance bordering on outrage at this accusation.
I cast my eyes down knowing that I have broken my diet, tempted by dark chocolate digestives. I know she is right. Guilt does not consume me because she makes me feel loved. That warm effusive love that permeates everything: your whole being, your hair, your soul, everything around you, rooms and soft furnishings, the sky and birds and cars. All encompassing in the invisible stability of gentle love.
I turn and inhale to say something, to reprimand her. Witty quips jostle for first place in my brain, tripping to the tip of my tongue like school children fighting to be first in line.
I look and she is not there. Reality becomes a mirraged haze for a second. An Escher picture where I don't know which way is up. Then it reasserts itself; she is not here, she is dead and gone. Cremated. Memories of her funeral and wake swim lazily to the surface of my brain. Pain stabs at my heart. The quips wither, drying my mouth with their corpses.
A sigh chokes down the tears and grief. Another sigh calms the sudden ache in my heart. The third deep breath reminds me that I was loved and that it is not the love that has died, just my best friend. A flicker of a smile flashes across my mouth as tears collect in my eyes blurring my vision of the detritus of gluttony that is the empty packet of biscuits.
Screwing up the empty wrapper I put it in the bin. I smile at the weird juxtaposition of grief and love. Had I not known her I would not be so sad, so empty like a gutted fish at her loss. Her unbelievable sunshine that she brought into my life. It is almost an oxymoron the pain and love combined; that the love she showed me and the love we had for each other keeps burning, never ending. I hear her commenting on things that I am doing, I smell her perfume as I walk in the room. All of these things calm me, they help me through life. I talk to her, long conversations about both the frivolous and the serious. I talk out loud like a mad woman, schizophrenic in nature with only me hearing the response. I know she is dead and it is only my imagination, a construct in my mind but I talk to her none the less. Bollocks to what anyone else thinks, I embrace this insanity of grief and love.
With her or without her, if I had been given the choice to not know her and not feel this pain; I would choose pain every time. Always pain. Because with it came something special, a mutual love and respect that is uncommon and is the be cherished even if it was cut short.
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