I opened the old book you gifted me and found a flower inserted into the page.
Instantly, I could recall the moment of this gift, and the meaning behind the poem excerpt scribbled in its title page:
Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?
(excerpt, Song of the Open Road, Walt Whitman)
You see, there was an innocence to the love of a friend that, at that tender time, went beyond romance and eros. The love had a pure quality of a sisterhood, but it was deeper than blood and genetics. It was a chosen one, and will always symbolize the truth of loving to me.
At that time in my life, I was ever pursuing the romantic. I wanted something I didn’t understand, something that my imagination created out of novels and poetry.
In reality, it was something I knew nothing about, and in retrospect, would have been better off to have left alone. Now, I see only the sadness those pursuits brought me.
However, I am still touched deeply by the youthful innocence of the love of my friend, and of the many things we shared.
Tonight, I revisited the old book and photos of our days of exploration. I had done a series of photos of her in black and white that I would one day like to publish, along with the poems I wrote based on them.
Tonight I wrote a draft of the final poem in the series:
I keep returning
to the garden
long after it’s
fallen to dust.
And the stone statues
are smoothed by
Times constant hand.
Even the ghosts
can no longer
remember our laughter
or their own names.
I’ve lived too long,
too much time has passed,
and we no longer linger here.
We are but flecks of gold
in the eyes of the gods.
a mirror dimension
with no more ties
to the one
I now walk alone.