How I Find You
by Ruth Gonzalez
The late summer breeze carried with it the scent of sunshine and grass. I wish I could bottle up this scent and wear it always. The sun had made its steady descent. The sky was a smokey lavender. I was seated in one of the Adirondack chairs as I listened to friends chattering and bemoaned their return to school. I knew this all too well. Better enjoy this while I can. I munch on the last remaining lime chips. The taste coated my mouth and left behind a pleasant aftertaste.
I observed the boys, their joking and good-hearted foolery. I watched Miles and instantly my heart began to warm up. My body melted and left me in a relaxed state. I was perfectly content watching my friend enjoying the day.
You deserve this and all the wonderful things life has in store for you.
The clinks of cutlery and the endless chattering of patrons ballooned within the restaurant. I joined in chats with friends, but mostly I was an observer. Miles sat with his girlfriend. Although I had been smitten by Miles—from his charm to wicked sense of humor—our friendship was enough for me. Still, I secretly hoped her luck would rub off me.
Miles teased me with my far away stare and inquired about my latest flight of fancy. Once his attention was on you, everyone else came second. It was a feeling I cherished.
“Daydreaming about my future novel,” I teased back.
Texting good news. Tearfully recounting bad days, my eyes swollen and raw.
Miles was aware of my shifting moods and crippling depression. I had no need to hide this dark side or self-quarantine. Even at my worst, he loved me unconditionally.
His soothing and melodious voice was a river of cashmere wrapping around me. It compensated for the hugs he gave freely when we were together.
I counted the weeks and days until our reunion. Waiting in heart-hammering anticipation, I scanned each of the cars pulling up at the airport. The jet engines and car horns of impatient drivers were a symphony. The remnants of winter were stubbornly clinging to the frigid breeze.
I raced into Miles’ arms. The chorus of jet engines and car horns faded as garbled background noise. These tight and warm hugs were gifts. Living on opposite sides of the country made these hugs so much more profound.
The grass is a bright green carpet. A soft cool breeze caresses my back. It’s a quiet and peaceful morning.
I can’t bear to look. Because if I do, the illusion will be ruined. I know the reality, but I push it back along with grief.
You can only avoid it for so long.
Miles’ name is etched in stone. The rouge cancer cell snuffed him out at eighteen. He didn’t lose his battle with cancer. Science has failed him. His death was my brutal introduction to adulthood. The end of innocence.
Facebook and AIM were our meeting places. I got to know him better through the blog he kept. I was a virtual pen pal and pushed aside his looming expiration date.
We never met. Never went to the same school, much less lived in the same neighborhood or state. His friends were not mine.
Despite these facts, I will never stop looking for Miles. In songs, in crowds, in every single moment, I still look.