Gloaming has always been my favourite time of day, even since I was a small child. The words gloaming and twilight have a romantic, magical air to them. Dusk brings with it certain smells, a slowing down, a stillness, a place for pondering and reflecting.
I never knew the dusk could seem so sad,
an empty aching in my soul.
In this bright hour I speak your name in the wind,
the shining world outlasts us all.
Unlike the author of this song, I know about dusk: it can wring my heart of many tears. Dusk is when I slow down enough to listen to my thoughts, my heart, and the Holy Spirit. . .Especially in the Spring through the Autumn, when I can sit on my porch as the light fades. In this bright hour, fading from colour to grey, the ache permeates my soul. Not a throb, not a piercing pain. . .a continual ache. Like arthritis, steady and dull, but very present.
How many evenings have I whispered into this gloaming that I miss you? And how many hours in years past did I sit at my desk or on the porch, grasping for the last light of day to see by as I wrote to you? The smell of Spring and fresh turned earth makes me think of evenings spent reading poems until I couldn't see the words on the page. Poems we discussed, and at least one that you memorised, reciting it on my voicemail. How heartbroken I am not to have that voicemail still.
Even the mountains seem to know you're gone,
the foothills shimmer where they stand.
The sky is still and much too beautiful,
and I am missing you again.
In the quiet, as the mountain turns from rose to periwinkle-grey, I feel a profound sense of loss and loneliness. I miss you so much it hurts. There are times when I get alternately sad and angry that you never came back to Colorado. Never saw my home. Never drank tea with me on my porch. That we never climbed a mountain together after Semester. Why? Why do I miss you so much? After all these years, why is the pain still there, strong and sharp?
I think of songs I might have sung to you,
the love I wanted you to hear.
Every time the blazing sun goes down,
another promise disappears.
I never knew the dusk could break my heart,
so much longing folding in,
I'd give years away to have you here,
to know I can't lose you again.
Maybe the answer lies in the longing. . . We were friends, good friends, for years. Then it all began to crumble. Your letters grew shorter and fewer. Sure, things change, life gets busy wherever you are—I understand. But it wasn't that. That has happened to me before. This was different. You changed. And when I saw you for the final time, you left me when I wasn't the person you wanted me to be. I wasn't someone else, I was me. . .and that wasn't enough. I wasn't enough. I can't pretend that I didn't cry, that it didn't hurt to have you reject me and abandon me. But for years I'm not sure that even I understood why it hurt so much.
Some part of me loved you in a way that I didn't expect. Yes, I loved you at first as that quirky kid from Rhode Island, and then as my dear friend. But is it possible that the severing of our friendship hurt and continues to hurt because some other love mixed itself into my heart? We often fall in love with someone wholly unobtainable, even spurning those within our reach. Is that it? But no, I think it was and is more than that, but I learned it too late and I regret it bitterly.
So much longing folds in, I'd give years away to have you here, to know I can't lose you again. To give up years to be with someone you love sounds worth it. But how many other people that we love would we miss time with if we could barter that way? I can't go back and reach out more than I already did once upon a time. I can't undo mental illness. I can't undo my life choices, and I certainly can't undo yours. I can't have another shot at being friends, at being anything more than that. And I wish to God that I could. But we can't live in the past, and we can't undo it. Even though I know that's true, it doesn't stop the pain, even as I try to live here and now, knowing what I know. We can't buy more time with our lost loved ones, but we can invest in those we love now.
Help me remember the San [Juans], the foothills burning in the light.
Let my heart rise up to where you are, I long to be with you tonight.
Of course I do. I long to be with you tonight in the Kingdom. I long for all of us to be free from death and its severing, searing pain. I am both angry and envious that you are there without me. That you don't have to watch person after person you love die. But I am not angry at you, and that makes a great deal of difference.
I miss who you were. I miss who I was. Sometimes I wish I could somehow go back to who I was when we first met, yet also know all that I know now. I know myself better now, and though I have a deeper experiential knowing of God and Life, I miss the person I was. . .The girl who loved poetry and saw light and all those little birds. The person who had time upon time to write, to walk, to listen. I miss loving every little thing about life, delighting in every Beauty, no matter how small or grand. And somehow, I feel like that part of me began to die when I lost your friendship. It was like a light went out; like all of the connections my heart and mind could make between Beauty and reality got scattered and broken.
Sometimes, when I whisper into the blue-grey of the evening, "I miss you, friend" I am also missing me. Do I think that if I could find you I could find myself? No. But I think that if I could find you, you might awaken something asleep in me, maybe even resurrect something long dead. You had a gift, my friend. And you left some of that gift infused in this world and inside of my soul—but so much of it went with you when you left. Does the world know what it's missing? How could we know what we don't have? And yet. . .I often long for what I never had. I often grieve what never was. I know that you are gone. . .Even the mountains seem to know that. In this bright hour I speak your name into the wind, and remember that the shining world outlasts us all.
Angel Fire by Fernando Ortega and Elaine Rubenstein