Trigger warning: Mentions of abuse and violence
You wait. You’ll wait for seconds to tick by, for seconds to turn to minutes and minutes to turn into hours.
You’ll wait for her. Your eyes stare at the door with hopeful optimism.
She’s coming home. She promised.
It’s only been two months, but it feels like an eternity balanced precariously in the crevices of time and space.
You long to hold her in your arms again, embrace wide and outstretched.
A plethora of memories resurface. Memories of shared laughter, forbidden kisses and missed opportunities.
You’ve spilled your darkest secrets into her soul, spoken honestly about the scars marred on your body, whole and imperfect.
You miss the way she murmured into your hair, the way she wrapped her arm around your smaller frame, the way she wiped away your tears with her fingertips.
You remember the way passerby stared at you and her, holding hands as the sun dipped below the horizon and the ocean breeze blew your hair into your face. The patronizing gazes, the curious fascination.
You wish people wouldn’t stare, the whispered under the breath comments make you cringe. The ones said out loud are even worse.
“God bless you.”
“Excuse me? Can I pray for you?”
To your girlfriend, “Does she need anything?” As if you don’t exist.
You sit in a sports wheelchair, wheels coasting along the grainy asphalt and she walks beside you, her limp barely noticeable but present, as you find a place on the beach and watch the sunset together. The vibrant color of a sunset streaked in shades of yellow, orange and pink will soon herald in the night sky and vast expanse of twinkling stars.
She asked you once, “Have you ever wished upon a star?”
“No,” you reply. “But I used to make wishes with pennies and throw them into fountains. I used to dream a lot, too. I had a lot of vibrant dreams about escaping. Not who I was, but where I came from, who I was with.”
That night, she squeezed your hand a little tighter, pulled you closer and you felt safe and loved in her embrace, closing your eyes and reveling in that feeling, in the moment.
Sitting in the kitchen of your small apartment, your mind drifts, unsurprisingly, to thoughts of her once more and you find yourself wishing.
When is too late to wish upon a star?
You wheel out of the kitchen and into the living room, moving close to a window and you stare in rapt fascination at the night sky, the twinkling stars a satisfying reassurance.
You don’t want to pray, but you want to send a steady stream of thoughts out into the universe. Closing your eyes, you take a deep, cleansing breath.
You exhale a whispered plea, “Come home soon. I miss you. I love you.”
You push back on lingering thoughts of worry and fear. It’s only a few more days, a few more days, a few more days.
You repeat those words like a mantra.
Until then, you’ll wait.