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See You Soon: Part 3 by Manav Chordia

Loveliest Tessa,

I remember the last time my eyes soaked the sight of you two months ago — your lucid shadow illustrating the horrors we survived. And today, I see you again and my heart stops beating. It would have been a miracle if nothing would have changed, but it isn’t. Maybe we’ve lost it all.

The person you chose became determined to turn back the strokes of time, committed to dwelling in the past. Even with my attempts to warn you, I still led you astray; I guess that I should’ve let life run its course. But if this could’ve been my fault, I would change the tides. I would rather live through multiple life sentences than live with the possibility of hurting you.

Tess, I was going to stop you from ruining your own life, stop any consequences from emerging, but I needed you to have some faith in me. I trust you to carry the truth for the two of us. However, by this path, you may live on forever. I cannot understand the gravity of the situation; how do I manage to live a life without you? I know that things aren’t all right, but I truly believe that they will be.

For far too long I hid behind the brand of friendship that you labeled: I supported your every decision, stood by your rock bottoms and applauded every achievement. I try to keep every secret we shared private, your beautiful Liam safe and your cat, Aspen, alive. I might not be capable of half the things you were, but there’s a higher power we’re investing in —the universe. I will always be a part of your legacy, Tess, but Liam is meant to be your successor, and I will make sure his ambitions are as high as yours. I shall always be on his side.

There still isn’t a part of you that I’ve seen and not liked, not even those disguises you wore or even the lies you uttered. Nothing could force me to believe otherwise.

Who do I trust after this departure? For I intend to chase behind you to the ends of the world if I must, even if it means having to bend time and space.

Tess, do you remember the nights a few years ago when you would lay your head down on my lap and gradually fall asleep while I hummed a few of my lullabies? I let silent tears slide down my face and onto your lush hair. “This isn’t going to last forever. We’ll be reunited later; we’re soulmates after all,” your disembodied voice would’ve muttered. I would’ve shied away, speechless, for I dare not cross you, for you are mine and I, yours.

I solemnly accepted defeat when my hands were only worthy of guiding your greasy curls into their place behind your pierced ears rather than holding your fingers between them. I don’t intend to see my world colored with grayscales, even without my Tess, for you are just a memory to me.

From the half-eaten pies that you’d share with little Aspen, to the home-brewed beers you chose to drink, I always find a way to look past the eccentrics for your sake and I shall still try to. I miss the way you tended to our tiny flowering gardens beside the small picketed fence that encloses our house: “With love, patience, and manure,” your nurturing voice would’ve announced.

My nose craves the smell of sandalwood that you would’ve applied on the scars that Aspen gifted you. My heart craves another look at your chipped smile — one of two people who get to brighten up my day — and yet my loneliness yearns for yours.

With you leaving behind every memory we’ve shared throughout the infinite moments we’ve lived, I had to be the one who carries the sole burden of our joint endeavors. I shall try to keep them alive, for us.

For you to treasure and for Liam to cherish.

Your other half,