The bridge is burned, charred remnants that crunch like gravel beneath my feet. I’ve walked it daily since the moment the first blast landed; daily, like a ritual, mindful walking, meditation really. I remember how we always said scorched earth was something to tend rather than neglect. I took it to heart (the ache of the pun tugs briefly, but like the rest, passes).
I don’t notice the acridness anymore. In fact, I think there are a few tendrils peeking here and there, amongst the destruction. Hard to tell for sure, you know how it is, sometimes the lighting is just right and you believe you can see most anything. I smile to think maybe it isn’t a trick of the light, but the quiet usually reminds me it’s more a wish or a belief than a fact.
I remember sitting, full lotus and smiling, there, at the midpoint. I remember how it felt to wait for you and know to a certainty that you would arrive. I miss that feeling. The ashy presence all around isn’t half as hard as looking toward the other shore and knowing just as fully as I ever knew you would arrive that you no longer will.
It is interesting how it unfolds. Not so much the resentments or angers anymore. Mostly just the feeling of soft sorrow, like finding some poor bird who mistook reflection for reality and shattered themselves upon unforgiving glass. I don’t feel broken, but crazed; Safety glass with intricate webs of what would be shattering, I am held in place only by the knowledge that intent still trumps assumption. The reflection may not be the reality, but it is moot because I neither mistook you nor left you unforgiven.
Unforgiven. I remember all the times the conversation turned to the theme. All the world unforgiven and given up. I think the thing that makes me happiest is that somehow, in this burning, you found the way to forgive the world, forgive yourself. It almost makes it easier to understand why you won’t forgive me. Almost. It would be like saying you were happy to hit the brick wall of me, happy to try to burn me, because it meant you had recourse from having to burn yourself. I understood and in some ways, knew the only thing truly unforgivable for you was for me to be unrepentant. I did it anyway — it was what you needed.
I remember telling you once that we were chipping off one another’s sharpness and in it, becoming softer for the rest of the world. You doubted it, or maybe it was just that you doubted me. Regardless, I still think it true. From what I know of your path since, it seems so. Good life, good works, good times, good friends – all the things you were once ready to die for lack of, now cozened and close. I smile to know it, even as I know you do not understand why I bother to care… still.
Mudita, succinctly. You never did believe me. It’s ok. You don’t have to believe me for it to be true. For me to be true.
I take an odd comfort in the ashes, charnel ground, the expanse between where being ended and only memory can continue. And while I know you won’t understand why, I prefer and I choose to carry your memory. It is not as heavy a thing as you so often said it would be. The amber in my pocket has never been ‘just a stone’ and I don’t suppose it ever will be, for all I occasionally try to pretend otherwise.
I would say I miss you, but that’s too pat and too simple to really cover it. I think what I miss most is the idea that – of all the things that couldn’t help but change – being willing would never make the list. You always said I was too willing and I always said there was no such thing. I still don’t know if either of us are really right.
I suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle, which is convenient, as that is a place I still visit and for all the things that only become impossible when we accept them as such, I will likely still visit. You can call it what you like, but I prefer to think of it as homage; honor of important things that never become less so just because we decided to scorch the earth.
Sinto saudades de você.