I woke up this morning smiling, but as I opened my eyes, the sadness slowly washed over me. The dream I had was fading from my memory. I got up for the day, looked into the mirror and saw the hint of my youth that still lingered in my eyes. I looked up at the painting on the wall, and slumped my shoulders. The painting of the forest cabin was a reminder of our favourite place. I smiled as I remembered us.
We were sitting outside, you and I, happily enjoying each others company. The sunshine was waning, dropping below the horizon. The smell of smoke and fire, the pine trees, the late spring flowery air as it started to cool in the evening. We inched closer to the fire, to each other. We watched as the sky turned a brilliant orange, that was quickly chased away by the darkness. The stars blinked at us, and they twinkled in our eyes. We looked in awe as we watched the sky, listened to the wind rustle through the leaves, dabd heard the crickets begin their evening song. The chilled air made me shiver and you pulled me into a warm embrace. We held each other, spent a little longer outside, living for that moment.
I blinked. The painting stared back at me, unmoving, It was still morning, and I need to keep moving forward. I walked slowly towards the shower and start the water.
The sound of the falling water took me back to that time on the sea. We were loud and happy. The sea was a calm dark blue, the salty air swirling around us, the mists cooling us off under the hot summer sun. We were singing all the pirate songs we could remember, terribly off key. We were laughing and jovial, joking around. You pretended to push me off the little boat we saved so much for. And to surprise you, I jumped! Into the dark cold waters, I jumped. I cried out with shock and you stared down at me, before you started to giggle. And giggle, and giggle! You held out your hand, and pulled me back into our little boat. You then pulled me into your arms and hugged tight. “Don’t scare me like that!” you said. I laughed, grabbing a towel drying myself off. “Should have joined me instead,” I replied smiling.
The shower water was warm as I stepped inside, letting the water wash over me. The unfallen tears washed away. I didn’t stay in long.
As I began to dress, the sweater caught my attention. It was blue and green, and one of the most comfortable things to wear. I grabbed it and started to pull it over my head. It reminded me of that one fall afternoon. It was our 3rd or 4th outing together. The sun was hanging low in the sky, but the light shinning through treetops was flashing and dancing among the falling leaves.
We were walking along a well trodden path, warm cups in hand. The spicy smells and the brisk air mixed together, the taste of fall. A dog ran up to you with a stick in his mouth, jumping and wagging his tail. We looked around but saw no-one. You bent and picked up the stick, patted the dog on the head, and threw it. The dog bounded away, chasing that stick, and you laughed. I sipped my warm drink, smiling to myself at your gentle nature. Your sheepish grin, as you watched the dog bring the stick back, happy as can be. We continued to walk and throw that stick for the dog, laughing at the simplicity of the moment. We rounded a corner and the dog bounded off to a young man. We smiled and waved, and continued walking along, sipping our drinks and talking about nothing in particular. We felt the temperature drop and I hugged myself into my sweater. You noticed the small movement and my chill. We turned back to walk the way we came, feeling the dampness creeping up on us. The wind picked up and began whipping the falling leaves around, chilling us further. As the sun dipped out of view, the rain clouds started to release the cool drops they had been holding on to. As they fell on us, we started to run. You grabbed my hand, and pulled me under a nearby gazebo in the park. We stayed in that shelter a little while, watching the rain fall on the rest of the world, listening to the pitter patter, feeling the wind. We sat in each others company, and I knew then, that I would pass many nights like this with you.
I pull the sweater down over my head and my lips turned up again. I continue to get ready for the day. I move into the kitchen to make my morning drink, and see your cup, untouched, sitting on the counter. I sigh, setting down my cup beside yours. I look out our kitchen window, and see some freshly fallen snow outside. The clean white snow, untouched at the moment would soon need to be shoveled away. I finished my drink and pulled on my boots and coat. I grabbed my mittens, your hat opened and the door.
I walked out of out lodge, and into the chilled air. The sun was just rising, and you followed behind me. “Brr, you said, how can you enjoy this cold?!” I laughed as I grabbed my snowboard and urged you to follow. We took the lift to the top of the mountain. From there we could see the whitened ground, the bare trees. You gasped beside me, still complaining about the fridgid air, but your eyes widened at the view. There was a frozen lake on the other side of hill, it would soon be filled with skaters of all ages. As we neared the top of the mountain the sun had become a full circle in the sky. We saw a white tailed deer saunter quietly into the woods. A bunny had hopped through the fresh powder, leaving her trail of footprints in the snow. The bare trees creaked in the light wind, slumbering away the winter, waiting for the warmth to return. We settle at the top together and take in the view. I catch you watching me instead. You smiled at me and said “I like seeing your eyes light up over the beauty in this world.” I couldn’t help but smile back, the heat rising to my face as I blushed. “How could I ever be cold when you’re around to make me blush?!”I got up, strapped my boot to the board, and began my descent on the slope. As I glided over the snow, feeling the wind whoosh by, heard the snow crackle and grunt at being disturbed so early. You followed me down, at first chasing me, then waving as you passed me going faster and faster. I called out to you, but my voice was carried back up the mountain. I sped down that hill determined to catch you, and finally I saw you ahead. You had fallen, and you were a little shaken up. I laughed at first, but your face made me stop. You were hurt! I helped you stand up and you hugged me tight. We took off our gear and walked back to the lodge. Some ice for your injury while we looked you over, and found that nothing was broken. Some rest would be good. I added a couple logs to the fireplace in the lodge, grabbed the blanket and spread it out in front of the fire. You looked at me with curiosity, and you watched me move around the little room. I set up our own little picnic in front of that fireplace. We sat together on that blanket all day and well into the evening. I laid my head in your lap and you brushed your hands through my hair. Talking about nothing and everything and life. I fell asleep with my head on your chest as you hummed the terrible pirate songs from summers past.
I cleared the snow from the front walkway and made my way to the driveway. I knew not to expect any visitors, but I cleared the driveway anyways. No-one except the little birds who had come to expect the feed I threw would visit. I fear that letting go would mean leaving them with nothing. I grabbed the bag of feed from inside the door and toss a couple handfuls.
The confetti they threw over us was overwhelming, but I could only see you. You were the one standing with me at the altar, the one saying “I do” as I said the same. We kissed, and our families celebrated our union. It didn’t matter, what happened next, I knew I would spend the rest of my life with you.
The birds chirped happily as they ate the feed. I wandered back inside our home filled with the memories of the life we lived. The couch where we watched movies and cuddled. The kitchen that warmed our souls with home cooked food. The office, still strewn with your things, the projects you were working on, the things I dared not to touch. The bedroom where we spoke our innermost thoughts, shared our worries, and held each other every night as we melted into sleep. We lived a life well lived. There were many happy memories of us, I thought, as I wondered room from room, looking at all the trinkets that served as reminders of who we were.
I woke up with a smile on my face, you still sleeping beside me. I kissed your cheek and whispered “It’s only a dream”, and snuggled into your warm embrace. The warmth disappeared slowly as I felt myself drift away…
I’ll meet you back in our favourite place, the little cabin in the woods, and we will watch the sun set together forever in our painting.