The Garden

 

The garden. In the garden I am lonely. Lonely but for pasty petals and frizzled ferns and thoughts of you. There are dusty, crusty scattered leaves and my pale reflection in a slow stream. You hated the water, though I loved it. We were different, you and me. The trees engulf me, as do those memories of you, with me, in the garden. It looks unkempt, like a graveyard of quiet and loss. Leaves curl on the cusp of brown, threatened by the closeness of death. I can’t let it take them.

I see the spot where we first stood, all those years ago. Where we kissed for the first time. I remember it well because I had a tic-tac under my tongue. You didn’t care to mention it. I always loved that about you. You stroked my hair and I shivered, even though it wasn’t cold. It’s cold now. The trees don’t sing and the stones no longer clink together when I step over them. Maybe we brought the beauty with us.

It was like a corny romance film, you know the ones, where they’re so beautifully and ridiculously happy that you just knew it could not be real. Except that it was. I cannot count how many times we ended up here. We thought it was our friend. I glance at the cliff, where I know the water is raging and gushing below. I don’t go to it, like I’d planned.

Instead, I pull the suede box from my pocket and carefully open its cover. The stone shimmers back at me, the silver glinting in my eyes. It is a beautiful ring; though never worn. I clamp the box shut, before my conscious mind ignores what I must do. You’d understand. I reach out my arm, but it shakes. And then I drop it. Into the stream. I watch it submerge in the cold slimy water, disappearing forever. I only regret finding it after you’d gone.

I close my eyes, wishing I hadn’t come back to the garden. A tear slides down my cheek. You’re not here to wipe it away, so I let it be. I take a deep breath, but there’s only fresh air. I say fresh because when I smell the waft of lingering cigarette smoke, I think of you. Me, burying my head into your leather jacket the first time I cried in front of you. I was drunk, but you were there and you held me. That was all I ever wanted.

I open my eyes, but I can only see the sparkle of the sun, shining like it was on our last day together. Before the darkness. I want the garden to take me back to that day. The day I could have yelled, confessed my true love, leapt at you; anything. Or better yet, I want it to take me back before it all went wrong. As if by some magic, it could whisk me up with the wind and the scent of the trees; to a time when we were in love, and you weren’t gone, buried beneath this chocolate soiled earth. It was all my fault.