I didn’t get to say goodbye.
Actually, that’s not true. I did say goodbye.
It was one of those goodbye’s I'd rather forget.
But I can’t.
So I’m stuck with the less-than-memorable goodbye because now she’s gone for good.
She’s been gone for a couple years now and I’ll never forget her. Just wished I could have said "goodbye."
Her high school picture sits front and center on my desk, her youthful black and white Mona Lisa smile cast dreamily off-camera. She always had that far-away look in her eye, like something "over there" always had her attention.
Every time I see a painting, it’s like being inside her head. It’s seeing what made her happy. Even when her days were dark and she was, shall we say, "gone"--the pencils, the watercolors captured what she could not see--those scenes remained in her spirit. Her happy places on paper. Each one signed on the bottom right-hand corner with her nom de plume.
When I last saw her, the occasion was not so happy. Our final hug was just that . . . final. I don't remember if I kissed her. I just remember that I was tired and she was tired and we had reached the end of ourselves.
She was going one way and we were going another and it hurt. We tried to take care of her, to make up for the lost years and weeks and days and hours. We tried--but she was somewhere else and the connection was just gone. And it hurt.
It hurt because I didn’t get to see her off when she left the world she brought me into.
All I can do is look at her paintings and find her in the way she saw the world and know that she understood what was beautiful. I feel like I’m just now understanding her more than I ever have.