When I met Eleanor I was on the verge of becoming who I would become for the rest of our life together. She caught me on the cusp and held me there. It seems we spend so much of our lives looking back, on who we could have been, what we could have done. But for the longest time, Eleanor had changed this in me. I didn’t need to look back anymore, for there was simply nothing to look back upon. What I needed most was so achingly close that I could do nothing but spend each day, willing it closer still.
We were both without a stable home when we met, both passing between old lives and grasping at new ones. We dreamed up a little white cottage near the sea with high ceilings and white window frames. A bed of our own and crisp white sheets to slip beneath. I dreamed of never losing her, though I knew this with all probability, to be a false dream. I would lose Eleanor more than once in my lifetime. It was during these times, I would fall hardest, try hardest to learn and unlearn myself.
Since Eleanor’s passing I’ve returned to many of the places we had once haunted. Not looking for closure, but hoping to find some signal that she was still there with me. I’ve never believed in the afterlife but losing someone you love does strange things to you. Suddenly, you could willingly believe anything at all, as long as it didn’t mean standing at the end of the beach with your heart in your hands.
In those first weeks I spent each afternoon at what was, our favourite beach. I sat high up on the shoreline and waited for the coming of night. Watched with measurable intensity, the bringing of the tide and the turning of the light. I counted each wave that was brought in, only to be returned and knew one day, I’d have to stop counting.