Pug

Our little home tucked between a cross of two busy streets and a buzzing late night tennis court. We left the windows permanently opened and the door never locked.  Our bikes leaned in the shade of a fairy lit tree under the high kitchen window. The light poured across our minimalist aesthetic we only upheld on Sundays after the Saturdays we cleaned and purged. We spent our late afternoons burning popcorn on the stovetop as we danced barefoot in each others shadows. We lit candles to put in the window sills and let them fill the rooms with subtly as we took our packs of reds to the porch steps. As the smoke drifted into upstairs windows, conversations about our reckless youth stayed with us while our burnouts found a home in a plant we could never keep alive. 

We were a mess of tangled hair in the bathroom sink, dirty dishes piled high of weeks past, broken champagne glass under the electric stove. Fights our neighbors couldn't help but hear, washing machine that made us want to self medicate, stalled car you had to push while I steered to the side of the road, burst pipes causing cold showers. Walks in opposite directions, ripped blouses on metal park swings, plum bruises and broken skin from the bed we never bothered to finish. 

Still, I cooked you dinner and you made me laugh. We drank cheap wine as we gossiped. We never cared who heard. I wrote about how I found you so beautiful just sitting in a coffee shop unaware of how the sun streamed in through the window. You came home with bags full of thrifted finds, we'd wear them out to dinner, and be convinced that life could always be that good. I patiently dyed your hair the same shade of brown because you knew how to cut mine the right length of short. We spoke honestly to each other even if it were through choked tears. I called you a cunt, you called me a bitch, and we'd belly laugh at how easy it was for us to forgive. I would bring you ranunculus the first of every month to celebrate us until you kindly reminded me that I was always a month too eager. 

Soon we will find ourselves with such distance between our little house on Russell street and we will forget about our road trips to nowhere in a car with windows we couldn't roll down, eating brunch at very non brunch hours, yelping Japanese hotpot as we shared a burrito in an empty parking lot. We won't remember how we got high together and watched the world spin faster than we've ever seen before, pretended to be asleep in order to avoid any uncomfortable run-ins, spent barista tips at the corner store on cookie dough ice cream and hot cheetos puffs because we felt like it. We will stop thinking about how we found ourselves at a nude beach fully clothed, watched teenage kids light fireworks in the outfield as we drank bottles of cider on the bleachers, compared each others dry almond milk cappuccinos till we settled for a tie. 

However, the left side of the bed will never feel quite the same. 

Graham

The sun would skim the tops of the trees in the backyard woods, pouring golden light in through the kitchen windows. Hilary would move about washing the pans of roasted potatoes, dishing leftover poultry into plastic containers, and soaking brim stained wine glasses in soapy dish water. The house would smell of rosemary and heirloom tomatoes. Propped cookbooks would settle in shoved corners of the tiled countertops with recipes of suppers past. Drifts of steam from an electric kettle would dance upwards to lifted ceilings as boiled water would be poured into ceramic mugs garnished with english tea bags. A pitcher of whole milk would idle by the farmhouse sink patiently waiting for tea to steep. Dessert plates dressed with berry crumbles or pastry puffs with clotted cream spread across the dining room table as Hope sniffed herself around the kitchen, nuzzling at crumbs lining pine baseboards. 

We sat across from each other as we did every late afternoon. A wrinkled napkin edging the side of the wooden table where your hands lay folded. Wire rimmed glasses dip low on your nose. The collar of your gingham button down misaligned under a well worn laurel green pullover. Your legs outstretched and crossed at the ankle as you settle yourself into a wooden chair. Our conversations were banter, english humor mostly. However, on this particular afternoon when Hilary would be found in her studio spinning wool from the alpacas in the fields and as the daylight lingered for a few more moments longer, you and I dreamt of heaven. 

You had said heaven finds a way of sowing itself among us so we can be witnesses to how sweet life everlasting will be. We hopelessly reminisced over memories of how our heavens manifested. The stillness of the moors after a heavy rainstorm. Hymnals by piano. Handwritten letters received from countries distant. The quiet of a church in the early morning. A tree lined riverbank. Laughter shared with family. The melodies of a choir. A well worn book with dog eared pages and black ink annotations. Echoes of children laughing down cobblestone streets. Roast dinners shared with collections of strangers.

We recalled stories of things we had bottled and kept close to our chests sharing them with deep fondness. We listened to the sweet sentiments drip from our tongues mixing themselves with the last tastes of a crumble. 

As I remember you, it’s that conversation we had over Hilary's rhubarb cobbler that I hope your everlasting is as sweet as what we had dreamed.