I awoke this morning realizing I dreamed of you. Well technically you weren’t in the dream, but your writing was. Or part of it.
I only recall dreaming of you one other time in all the years we’ve known each other. It was last February, maybe the 11th. Or the 17th. You were actually in this one. I could see you, hear you, feel you…it was very very real. Dressed in jeans, a short sleeve shirt, sneakers. Your computer bag. Your hands on my shoulders as you looked in my eyes. Your arms sweeping me into that familiar all-engulfing hug. My arms, around you; just like that one picture. My eyes, closed; inhaling you, all the better to remember. My face, buried in your shoulder as always. Knowing your hugs never last long enough and I will have to rely again on the memory. Your lips, close to my ear, telling me something I already knew. Five words.
And then I woke up.

This morning I remembered from last night’s dream, a message notification of all things. Your picture next to it, meaning it was from you. The blue dot, indicating it was unread. You’d written to me. And in my dream, I did not read the message. I turned away and closed my computer. I awoke.
The chapter, I think, is closed or closing. So I go back to the beginning, one last time, as if re-reading a great story that you don’t quite want to end.
The first meeting, the continued crossing of paths the first couple years, and the TV station. The first kiss. The serenade-that song I’ll never forget. The thing I wrote and only showed you 25 years later. The first goodbye-the silent one that only I knew about, the friendship that followed, the words you said one day in June 1994, and then the second goodbye that hot day in August-which I really thought was the last one.
Losing touch completely, the chance meeting and picking me up in your arms to swing me around, the off-and-on contact the next decade or so.
The time you reached out right before I graduated. That time it wasn’t just breakfast. And everything since then. And then…I mean now, the end. The third goodbye, the last one, the one that is for keeps.
The tale is bittersweet, the ending maybe not what one would expect. But it is a tale of strength. Of growth.
It’s now time to close the book; and perhaps re-read the story at a later date. A much later date.
The symbolism of not reading the message, closing the computer, and turning away let me know that I will be able to finally, fully let go. Just eight short months ago I truly wondered if I would be ever able to. Now, I know I can.
Now I am-or will be-completely free.