Writing: Picture Prompt — Just Waking Up

I couldn’t sleep last night. Too many memories of unspoken words and haunted dreams. You’re gone, you see, left because of my inability to accept love.

The city is waking. My hometown comprised of cobblestone streets and stone buildings. A bridge in time to a history long past.

I stop under St. Charles tunnel. Run my fingers over damp stone and remember our first kiss. Here in the shadows. Your black hair felt like feathers against my fingers and I teased you, laughing that no man should have hair better than my own.

You smiled with that devilish look in your eyes, blue sapphires that nearly shown in the dark. Pulled me closer, lowered your face until your lips touched my own. Kissed me until I only tasted you, flavors of spearmint, honey and sage exploding on my tongue.

Your scent of fresh cotton and sandalwood surrounded me until all I felt was you and the cool stone at my back.

Standing here now, waiting for the sunrise, my tears no longer fall. I am too tired; too empty; too drained. City dwellers will move about their daily lives. Lanterns shut off. Cars populating the narrow streets. Patrons walking through this tunnel without a second thought. Not affected in the slightest that here my love for you began. A love beautiful but unstable. A love unable to voice.

I walk the evening streets with your ghost in sight. Every shop, every restaurant we visited, now etched into memory. I trail my fingers over stone walls and glass windows. Disappear through cracked stone, invisible in a crowd. I imagine you standing beside me, grasping my hand, enfolding me in your warmth. Your laugh a distant echo.

I tried to believe I deserved you. Tried to accept the happiness you gave. But the past has a way of reaching into the present. A black hole destroying all that is good. Words shouted in the dark, hands cracking against skin, and a belt, his belt that left welt after welt.

You held me those nights, when memories assaulted me in dreams and I woke screaming in the dark.

Sometimes I think I see you in the distance, turning a corner or stepping into your car. Your black peacoat blows in the wind and your hair frames your face. Thick waves that reach your collar. In those moments I run, feet echoing on the stone. I call out your name and reach for a shadow that isn’t there. I pretend that I reach you. Pull you into my arms. Tell you I love you. Hold you close and never let you go.

And so I walk. Night after night. Hoping for a glimpse. Praying for a second chance.

Hoping to find you, like me, walking alone on these cobblestone streets. In the dark, waiting for you to wake me once more.    

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