I don’t know how long she’s been gone but it seems like a very long time. I don’t remember the exact day or even the year, but one day she left. “Don’t go,” I begged. “Please don’t go.”
I remember all the times I watched her cry. I tried to comfort her but it never seemed to be enough. Sometimes, she would curl up in a ball and hide in the corner. Other times, she would stand at the window and just stare. I told her that it was going to be okay but she kept crying.
There were times when I pleaded “stop hitting her. Please stop hitting her. I don’t know what she did but I know she didn’t mean to.”
She sought refuge in the trees. A huge Mimosa with a bifurcated trunk made climbing easy and in the summer, made hiding even easier. The black cherry tree was no match for her nimble limbs but the huge oak tree that stood in front of the house would forever remain unconquered.
I watched as she climbed those trees. She would sit there for hours and I always wondered what she was thinking. Was she praying for wings so that she could fly away? Was she praying for a knight in shining armor to come rescue her? Was she praying for absolution for being alive?
Sometimes she would look toward the sky and sing “When You Wish Upon A Star.” She knew the stars were always there even though they only shined at night.
I wanted her to come back but I didn’t think she ever would. I wondered if she remembered me. I wondered if she remembered that I had always been there, trying to make her feel better.
One day my wish came true. I saw her, standing across the gravel road that snaked its way up to the house. She had come back and my excitement was indescribable but did she remember me? She stood there, as if she was trying to memorize the old house but she didn’t look at me.
I waved but she didn’t see me. “You came back!” I said with delight, but she didn’t hear me. She slowly walked up the path that led around the house, now overgrown with weeds. It was the path that led to a huge pasture where long ago, cows with bells around their necks used to graze. She giggled when she tickled their noses with a long blade of grass and made them sneeze.
I watched as she stopped to pick wild flowers along the way, just as she had done as a child. I was trying to keep up with her, calling to her but she never turned around.
“She doesn’t remember me,” I thought.
When I was finally able to catch up with her, I watched as she kneeled down and placed those wild flowers on my grave.
I smiled because I knew. She remembered me.