I was buying toothpaste and a new toothbrush. I remembered walking fast through a Walmart last summer, buying stuff that didn't matter one whit because the company I was keeping made the boring trip so much fun.
Those days are gone forever, I said to myself. And for the first time, I didn't feel a hitch in my chest. I didn't stop what I was doing to stare off into the middle distance of memory. I just kept on shopping, alone.
I turned inward to look for the hole in my husked-out heart and realized it was gone, plugged with concrete and the scars accumulated over time. It's not a pretty patch, but it's doing the job. I feel solid in the center of my chest.
I miss you, I said to my past, not without regret. I miss what was and what could have been, what should have been. I closed my eyes but shed no tears, and greeted the uncertain future with a level head.