La fin. El Final. The end.
I stand on the steps of the monument and just stare up at the black night, my breath a red fog in the frigid air. What is an end but simply another beginning? I know by releasing her from my heart, I will be free and able to live with a clear conscious. I close my eyes and envision stars above the smog that has canopied the city. I can almost see them, clear and shining. I wish I could go there, far away, and watch the human ants scurry about their busy days. But that is not my fate, not tonight. I grip the letter in my hand. The envelope yellowed, from all the days that I fingered it, and held it; willing myself to open it just to be sure those were the words I wrote that cool afternoon. I wondered if she would still remember that day. My mother and I had that huge fight, and both said things we didn’t mean. Dishes broke, doors slammed, and footsteps creaked up the stairs. I cried in the kitchen; I cried while wrote her this letter. I sealed and stuffed it in a drawer to hide it from her. It’s fitting that today is New Year’s Eve, the epitome of all the clichés of starting over. I don’t think I could do this if it wasn’t a resolution though. So I place the letter on the monument and turn to walk back to my car, providing myself the finality I need.
I’d spent days crying, I couldn’t believe that she’d left. She never left me alone for this long. I felt lost, empty; I was abandoned, regardless of the reason. Then, like it was any other day, she silently appeared in the great room and smiled at me. It wasn’t a memory or my imagination; she was there.
“What are we going to fix for dinner?” she asked like she hadn’t been gone for months.
“I already ate,” I stammered as my heart dropped into the pit of my stomach. My mom sat down on the couch beside me and didn’t say anything at all. We sat like that for hours. I watched the sun cast shadows from one side of the wall to the other. Then finally I felt her arms around me, cold. My body reacted with shivers, goosebumps and all the tiny hairs standing on ends. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t return the embrace.
“I’m sorry,” she said as she tried to hold me close to her, much like she did when I was a child. After that, things seemed to return to a new normal. We spoke in passing, not about anything too deep. I’d mumble under my breath, but she always seemed to hear me answering with a distant voice from another room. I wondered if she were reading my mind; answering me before I spoke. She came back different with anger that became unbearable. I felt as if I was a child again, and making all the mistakes I did as a little girl, hiding my dirty hands under my skirt; so she wouldn’t make me go wash them before dinner. That was when I decided to try to talk to her about letting me go; I’d told her goodbye once already. Then we had our fight, and she did the worse thing she could ever do to me, she ignored me.
I thought the worse day of my life was when I rushed her to the hospital. She had been in bed for days coughing and wheezing as I gave her medicine much like she were the child and I was the mother. The doctor told me that if the symptoms worsened to go to the emergency room. They worsened and I rushed her to the hospital. She winced in agonizing pain every time she coughed terrifying me. They took her right in giving us a room immediately. Pneumonia, not just pneumonia, but double pneumonia; and the infection had spread to the blood. Within hours she was on a ventilator. Suddenly, the days slowed down, with minutes ticking to a crawl, giving us a brief reprieve from the inevitable. I shared my fears, hopes and wishes in those final hours. She never woke up; and I buried her in the cemetery on the wooded hill we rode by so many times during our life together.
I feel a stirring as I now stand outside my car. It’s like she knows that I have to move on, just as she will, too. I don’t know if heaven is as beautiful as they say; once she lets go of me she will be able to finally rest. I hope that one day I will get to see her again and I’ll tell her of my adventures, and she will tell me of hers.