Between 3am and 5am

I wake up with a start and I know it’s way before my alarm. In fact, I have a hunch I already know what the time is.
Rolling to my left side slowly, I reach over to the bedside table and my finger taps the screen of my phone. The phone is awakened by my touch bringing a ghostly illumination to the room.

3:27am.

I knew it.

Something to do with my lungs – grieving and sadness.
What am I grieving and what can’t I let go of?

The phone screen shuts off and I’m plunged into darkness again.

Two

A quiet weekend in our own little world,
an alternate reality glimpsed.

Morning breath and furtive glances,
Comfortable silence and our own plans.

Truths spoken and secrets shared,
with my palms outward and my heart open.

The wind changes direction, I blink and it’s over.

We’re huddled around a pole in the train during the morning rush,
whispering and laughing in a language you don’t understand.

It’s my stop, I turn back and wave casually as I hop off to change lines.
The doors clothes and off he goes.

Cocoon

I remember when I was younger, I loved exploring in the backyard. There would be so many little beautiful, mysterious things under rocks, hiding in a crevice or right there in plain sight.

There was this one time time when I found a cocoon and my parents explained to me that inside there was something beautiful but I had to wait,

“The butterfly comes out when it is ready.” Mum said to me.

At first I tried to wait and thought to give it more love. Should I make it a bed?
Maybe a little one out of tissues to keep it warm.
Both Mum and Dad said that I didn’t need to do anything, just be patient.

I watched it all day just in case something happened. But, to my surprise and disappointment – nothing.

I wanted it to hurry up. I was impatient.

No one was around and I couldn’t wait, so I decided something must be wrong – why didn’t he respond to my love? He must be stuck, I need to save him I thought to myself.

So I started to take away the layers of the cocoon and I felt wriggling inside. Ah! He’s stuck, I knew it! No one else knew but I cared for him the most so how was anyone else to know what he needed?
Excitedly, I kept peeling more layers off and it became more difficult. The wriggling continued – a little more intensely this time.
But then as I got to the centre I realised something was wrong, it was just gooey.
I felt hot and sick all at once.

The wriggling stopped.
He was dead.

But he was just wriggling and alive, how could this be?

My eyes felt hot and my vision became blurry. I fell on my bottom and started to cry loudly, real loudly because Dad came outside and asked me what was the matter. He scooped me up and I saw him looking down at the ground where it was clear what had happened. What I had done was evident. 

“He’s dead.” I said crying into Dad’s shoulder, I pressed my face so hard into his shirt that the darkness became a purple-red murkiness and I could feel the pressure on my eyeballs. My little nose hurt as I pushed harder.

After a time Dad started to talk, “Matey, we told you to be patient and wait. He wasn’t ready yet,” His hand stroking my hair as he swayed gently, back and forth.
“But I made him a little bed and he was wriggling.” I said, feeling snot mixing with tears.
Dad’s shirt was damp and slimy now. The light hurt my eyes and I tried to open them again and look through the tears.

Dad pulled me away from his shoulder and bought us face to face and said, “You can give all the love you like, that’s fine. But you can’t give that expecting something to happen sooner or something to go your way.” 

I shut my eyes and kept them shut, the tears still rolling down my cheek and my breathing slowing down. I didn’t understand.

 

Ghost

I’m hugging Gina goodbye outside Wine Shop and people watching over her shoulder as we embrace. During our moment peppered with parting words I catch a glimpse of a ghost turning his head to look back at me. The sound distorts around me and the warm embrace of the past beckons.

I find myself standing across the street watching him and I have breakfast the morning after at Code Black near Rosslyn. We’re sitting outside while he smokes, I tell him to get me a croissant and a latte. I also add in that I’m not paying and he laughs while he blows his inhaled smoke out away from me. He leans in and kisses me. I give him that stupid smile I do when I’m nervous and trying to seem like I couldn’t care less.

And that was it.

Once we shared stories and intimate nothings. Now we’re nothing but each other’s past.

We lock eyes for the briefest of moments before becoming part of each other’s past once more.

He’s gone.

Gina gives me a tight squeeze and says she’ll see me soon. I pull out of the embrace and turn to see Erin looking up from her phone, scanning the cars for her Uber, hand firmly on her hip.