Summertime makes me miss you.
It’s amazing how our minds and bodies work, how one smell, one sound can take us back to a place in time that we haven’t thought about in so long. We started our journey together in the summer, spending the long nights sitting outside on benches around the city, attempting to soak up as much knowledge about one another as our brains would absorb. Many of those bench moments were spent stealing kisses in the night as we sat closely together, limbs intertwined. Those moments were my favorite, full of innocence and excitement of getting to know someone new. Back before things got beautifully complicated.
The smell of the gym in the summer makes me think of you constantly, daydreaming back to when we first met and to where we spent much of our time together in the beginning of our relationship. Back to when I would casually stride into your office, arriving earlier than I needed to, just for a chance to chat with you. Back to when you would randomly pop your head into my class like an absolute creeper, but I found it hilarious anyway. Back to when we were keeping our newly found attraction to each other under wraps for at first and we would linger around the gym, waiting for all of our friends to go home so we could get in the car together and make a late dinner run to Waffle House. The smell of summer, the feel of summer, the sounds of summer – they all take me back to you. My thoughts completely skip every other summer that I’ve had in my 27 years and circle back to you.
Today I pulled out the “Richard” box for the first time since January. I pulled out the stack of pictures, bypassing the letters from you and the cards from so many people after you died, though had I had more energy I would have sifted through those as well. I looked at you in all of those pictures and became overwhelmed by emotion. It is still so hard to grasp the concept of you being gone. It is still so hard to understand why God chose me to spend your final days with. It is still so hard to fathom that you chose me to spend your final days with, though of course you didn’t even know they were your last. God tethered our hearts together as soon as we met and I am forever grateful that I had the chance to know, love, and share so much with such an incredibly intricate person. I look at those pictures and everything comes flooding back – the conversations, the struggles, the jokes, the happiness, the pain of each moment. There is a, and I suppose always will be though maybe not as prominent, a hole in my heart that is reserved for you. You, sweet Richard, saw me for everything I was and for everything I wanted to be. You loved me with an unconditional love that I did not deserve. You taught me so much about strength, determination and grace. So much about grace. I often wonder when these feelings of nostalgia will go away. Will they ever go away?
Summertime makes me miss you.