Cheryl A. Bates
I saved a self-destructive friend, escaped from a predatory friend and regretfully,
had to leave a truly kindred “friend” behind.
Bruised, battered, and in need of repair, I escaped from the burdens my kindred friend continuously bared.
Selfishly, I isolate my wounds from those I think don’t care.
While she gives her spirit so generous and loving; masking a secret so deep with despair.
With nothing left for anyone or myself, somehow she always showed me she cared.
I promised her I would return. Just hang on my dear, that day draws near.
She taught me to love and laugh at the simple treasures we shared.
A memory, an escapade, a trip to into the lake.
Dripping and squishing we’d dance on the bank.
A loud crack of the ice, a wide eyed stare, she’d giggle at my inexperienced scare.
Grab the net, a fish to snare; rip goes my pants, she’d fall into fits of hysteria.
Her laughter and care taught me to not take myself so serious.
(Photo credit: Author/ Polar Bear Plunge, Oshkosh, WI 2011)
My car, packed and ready for the trip, slightly earlier than our long ago plan.
One last phone call, I finished grading early, we can share more time and make more fond memories.
She hesitated and said “No, I have it all arranged, you should come as we’d planned.”
So, I agreed, and waited.
The day before I was to leave,
a ring of a telephone shattered my heart and buckled my knees.
“She gone” I remember the speaker said to me, “She’s really gone.”
The words were like a foggy dream, never did I realize, she’d hidden from me,
a plan of her own.
My heart bleeding; my mind searching for meaning, I drove two days without seeing.
Country western played on the radio, a moment of clarity, that’s one of her favorites.
A moment of relief quickly replaced with disbelief, she’s gone, she’s really gone?
Relief didn’t come until I saw her, body cold and lifeless,
yet, so peaceful.
Gone to what is beyond; her love, her laughter, her mischief, her joyous heart.
Seven-eleven, death is freedom, obtained with one sure fired bullet.
Her despair ended, her spirit freed
to know what peace there can be for a tortured soul.
(Photo Credit: Author/ Horse Creek, Cherokee National Forest)
Though I am still broken and my heart still aches,
the darkness around me, slowly lifts toward the dawn.
When I am unsure, her gentle nudges remind me of my strength.
Her presence is around me, whispering to me through the wind in the trees.
I hear her laughter in the bubbling creek, and I feel happy.
I feel her smiles, imagine her deep blue eyes – I don’t feel so alone.
She knows now what we all seek to know, that which is eternal and free.
So, just hang on, my dear,
I promise I will join you again someday.
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