She awoke to an empty house the next morning. “Julian? Julian?” She called. But he was long gone, and she’d known it too. Sighing, she slumped back down on the bed.
Faraway echoes of past laughter reverberated throughout the house, and light patterns seemed to form vivid images before her eyes. Everywhere she looked there was a captured memory; every part of the house a trigger, initiating a replay of past scenes. She looked upon image after image, reliving ghost memories that would no longer hold true for a long time to come. In her head, vestiges of his song floated around, as if she was living a dream.
But he was gone, and no number of illusions could amount to reality.
To an onlooker, her life might not have looked like it had changed much. Every morning, she would still be sitting near the door, crafting jewellery and other ornaments from old beads and jewels. Although she was young, she was rather skilled at it. Neighbours occasionally walked in to buy her handmade crafts, and would engage in small talk with her. They always asked her when he would be back, and she always didn’t know.
However, her ignorance never seemed to faze them, for they never stopped asking her the same question. It was comforting to know that everyone else missed him too.
She watched the sunset every evening, just as they had together when he was around. Although she was alone, she enjoyed watching it just the same. On some days, she felt especially connected to him, and she knew he was watching it from where he was now.
Above everything, she looked forward to his letters.
How have you been? Is everything the same? I’m fine, don’t you worry about me. Life in the mines is dark and even dangerous sometimes, but I have met some great people here. I guess we’re all working towards the common goal of a better future.
I managed to sneak out during a short break just now, and it’s the first sunset I’ve seen in weeks. The view here is breathtaking. I wish you were here to see it.
I hope you’re doing well back there. I’m counting down the years to when I can go back. Soon, maybe, if I work harder to earn more money. Until then, I’ll be with you in mind and spirit.
They both waited as years slipped by this way.
(to be continued…)