The Other Side

By Caroline Hesby, TIWP Student

Once in a while you slip across the screen of my eyes, a quiet figure, your glasses still resting—slightly fallen—on the bridge of your nose, and a toothy smile that little me always sensed something more behind but wasn’t quite sure what. You left quickly, predictably, yet suddenly, before I could understand the permanence of your exit. When you left, I barely felt it. I feel guilty for giggling with your other grand kids, dressed in black, too naive to show grief, too glossy-eyed to feel your absence. You were always so quiet anyways, I couldn’t yet separate the peace from the silence. 

Will I know you in the next life? Will you get to see my added inches and matured smile? Will I get to laugh at your witty jokes? Will you tell me about the years of war and the relatives I came from? You float across certain landscapes, you flicker somewhere across the way like a light I’ll be able to touch in a time different from this one.

I was a child, and you were a trip to Florida, and a lap to fall asleep on and a calm presence to wonder at. It’s peculiar, how you had to go just when I was beginning to enter. Maybe at certain moments I’ll reach out my fingertips and press against the empty air and somewhere you’ll be resting yours on mine. Maybe I’ll grow up and save all my questions for when I get to come to you and the others with whom I was temporarily parted from. Maybe you’re waiting right now in your tan chair with your playing cards, on the other side of a glass wall or an entire universe. 

And maybe, it’s after all the inexplicable living, you get to do the understanding; I’ll meet you across that bridge and I’ll hug you to make up for the lost years. For now, I’ll wait for the occasional glimmer in the water or the hum in the trees that lets me know you are there.

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