Reflections in the waves spark my memories.

Furrowed in my brow, I feel you with me. While understanding eluded me, your role was a mystery. Time marched on, and through, the lines in my brow. (Those, I came by honestly.)

Because I never knew the heaviness in your shame even as its spirit latched onto mine. Only you never meant for me to embrace it as often as I still do.

You couldn't have known how I would let your desperation settle into my broken places when you confessed how empty you'd become. So empty that life had lost all meaning.

Sometimes, you thought to yourself, how easy would it be to get that gun and make it all go away. There it sat, waiting in the next room, you explained, as I sat listening in silent panic. The pain, emotional as well as physical, never left your side. Didn't you know mental anguish, for the sake of solidarity, is contagious?

From that moment in my 10th year and for each moment thereafter, I wore my empathy like a threadbare coat. It was not until this moment that I understood I needn't do it for your sake. You couldn't have known how I'd try.

Nestled now in my melancholy, you whisper words I need to hear. Hope and light and better days. I have known all these and more in the golden hour. I kept you with me because I couldn't bear the thought of you being alone but you released me long ago.

Break the curse.

Of course, this time of year reeks of betrayal and disappointment. Fury lurks in a dark corner. When everything in me wants to crawl away and disappear into the warm embrace of solitude, this is forever the season of awakening. Discouragement enjoys the broken tranquility but I've had about enough of it.
I remind myself, again, that I am a beloved one with full access to His throne. How can I smile while my face is hidden in shame? Purposeful moments will pass me by. Lift up my head so I can see what's right in front of me. A golden girl.

Yesterday's ghosts gathered while I watched you leave this world but that was so long ago. If you can let them rest, so can I.

I am releasing all but the tenderest of memories.
Paper dolls of glamorous ladies.
Your kitchen table.
Joy in the little things.
The melancholy way you smile at me like I was the only one.

And, so, I am.