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The Paths We Take #38: I Am Gone

Nov 20, 2018







I stare at our bed. The soft blues of the room are brighter in the summer sun that passes through the open blinds. I miss this place, I think while I lean the envelope against hispillow. The envelope is crimson — for love. No . . . for blood.

My bleeding heart is inside — a letter that spills the last of the pain, joy, hurt, desire, fire, and love that I have . . . It’s his last chance.



To Luke — my Montague,


     If you’re reading this, you will have to make a choice. I’ve tried to convince you to choose me, but I know I can’t force you to do anything. I beg you . . . choose quickly.

     We were both wrong. You were wrong about me, and I was wrong about how you’d react when I left. Why didn’t you come after me? After all that you put me through, you didn’t even try to save us. I gave up my entire existence so that you could play hero, but you, my hero-boy, didn’t realize that you were ruining me.

     Leaving you was supposed to fix me. I put the thing that ripped me apart, I put you, in the rearview and moved on towards healing. I’m supposed to be whole again, but I feel like I’ve been cast out of your world, adrift in some black ocean that never calms.

I want to lose myself in my photographs, but the only photos that I want to take are ones of you and the places we felt alive, together. Can’t you understand that? Don’t you want to be happy again? Don’t you want me to be happy?

We were always meant to be together. We were alive, Luke. Maybe we were too young like everyone said, but it didn’t matter. I would have loved you if we met when we were twelve, fifteen, twenty-seven, or eighty-seven. That was the magical thing about us. We didn’t care what everyone else thought. There is no one else for me in this world, and there is no one else for you.

I hope you can understand why I left, and I wish that you would save me. We can still be together.

I’ll be at our spot tonight at midnight the place where we first knew we loved each other the place where you will make the choice to reunite. We can be together again. This world cannot keep us apart. You can’t keep us apart.

Come back to me, Luke. I’ll be waiting for you . . . I’ll always wait for you.


With all the love that I have,

Katie – Your Capulet




I leave our apartment and drive across the bridge to Edgewater park. I walk the trail that follows the river and eventually loops back around to the parking lot. It’s a two-mile trip, but I take my time. I’m here to think . . . and wait.

We used to make the easy hike at least once a month during the sticky summer months. I try to breathe as I recall the memory, but even the fresh air seems poisonous as it rushes into my lungs. I choke on the reality that I’m all alone.

Mud gushes underneath and between my toes as I ease down the riverbank. I remove my shorts, my shirt, and then fling myself into the water. The water is cool, like it had been poured from a chilled mug. No one ever comes to this part of the trail and down the embankment. Others keep on towards the next turn that doglegs to the left and slithers through a big-sky, open field before sinking into the forest.

The current pulls me downriver as I float. It carries me for a few hundred feet before I swim back to the riverbank. I wonder how far the river could carry a body before someone would find it.

The walk back on the riverbank to retrieve my clothes is treacherous. I stumble twice. The first fall left me with a gash on the back of my calf that ran from the ankle to the knee joint. I do not feel a thing — I am numb.

I snatch my clothes and shoes and make my way back up the embankment towards the field. I stay clear of the path and wade my way through the sea of tall meadow-grass. I find a comfy spot, lie down, and dry in the baking sun. My eyes are heavy, and I try to count the hours since I’d last slept. I drift off.


. . .


When I open my eyes, all I see is the glow of the moon against the tall blades of grass. I feel the ground around me for my shorts and find my cell phone in the back pocket. It’s 10:37 PM, and I still have no missed calls. I use the light from the screen to get dressed and then take the trail back to my car. Damnit! The chain is up and I’m locked in.

I fire up the ignition and then line my car up to face the chain that blocks my exit. I reverse until I reach the trees, and then I punch the gas. I soar forward, and for reasons that I cannot explain, I start to laugh as I feel the blood bouncing in my veins. I hear a thud and crunch. I drag the front bumper until I hear it crush underneath the tires as I drive back across the river to Red Pines.


. . .


Hollinger Park is empty. I wish that he was here waiting for me — to save me. I pull the piece of paper, the China Girl, and Luke’s Glock from the glove compartment and put them in my purse. It’s now 11:10 PM.

The shimmer of the moonlight on the black river catches my eye as I walk into the park. I’ve always thought this place was beautiful at night. We spent countless nights just sitting here, chatting about what we would do when we got married, like we knew what we were doing. We discussed all the places we would see, the exotic locations that we would visit before we turned thirty, like thirty was a lifetime away.

I walk past our initials on the Lover’s tree and feel the nostalgic heaviness of the memory crush my lungs. We were happy then.

Our spot, our lover’s bench, is calling to me. When I sit down, I look at my feet and notice that my shoe is painted a deep red. I hadn’t realized that the cut on my leg was more like a deep gash. Small drops of crimson paint the grass below our spot.

I pull the China Girl from my purse, close my eyes, and slide it under my tongue. I feel it bubbling and the tears come down in thick streams now. Everything will be better soon,I think. It’s now 11:15 PM.

My eyelids feel like bricks, and I struggle to keep them open. I knew that this would happen, and I start to prepare myself. I take the sheet of paper and Luke’s gun out of my purse. I lie down on the bench, put the paper on my chest, and then then lay the handgun on top of the paper. I make sure that a round is in the chamber, and I double check to make sure the words on the paper are visible.

“Come with me. It’s time to choose,” is scribbled in thick black ink across the bottom of the paper.

I give in to the heaviness and my eyes begin to shut. I smile at the Lover’s tree as my eyelids fail me. I fade into the memories . . . I am gone.


© Josiah A. Miller 2018. All Rights Reserved.