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I still remember how I used to stand in the doorway and watch her sleep. I would stand there for hours and listen to her breathe. Sometimes I would even try to synchronize my lungs with hers like a musician to a metronome. That was all before she left me. I look back and smile when I think about the very first time I met her.
It was winter when she entered my life for the first time. I was working full time at a department store loading merchandise into cars. Every now and again when I walked outside, I would look at the snow dunes in the parking lot created by the snow plows. Then one day, she walked by me. My eyes were like the shutters of the camera because I can remember exactly what she looked like at that moment. Her clothes were damp from the falling snow. Her lips were pink from how cold it was outside. Her eyes were cinnamon and somehow through that dim winter day, the sun peeked out for what seemed like a fraction of a second to reflect her golden hair back to me. I remember making eye contact with her and saying, "Hello." Time passed by and we got to know each other better and eventually, we moved in together.
We lived together for thirteen months and every single day I shuffled through our memories like cards constantly remembering those winter nights. When it was cold, we used to sit on a rawhide leather couch that we bought at a yard sale with one of two CDs playing in the background. We listened to Jeff Buckley's album "Grace" or Slowdive's "Souvlaki". She always told me that these were her two favorite albums because of how they sounded, how it made her feel, and how it echoed deep in her soul. We would then fall asleep together holding each other keeping the other one warm.
One winter day, the sun refused to shine and I knew that something was wrong. Something inside of her was wrong. Each winter night became more cold as she stopped speaking to me. She assured me that everything was fine and that I was just being paranoid. I knew she wasn't the same person because somehow the stars that twinkled in her eyes had become dim.
Over the next several weeks, I watched her follow a downward spiral. She lost the initiative, the desire, and the will to progress any further in life. I would do nothing, but let her sleep as I stood in the doorway. Before she became consumed by her depression, she would whisper in my ear, while lying down next to me, phrases from one of her favorite songs by Jeff Buckley called "Grace". She would whisper, "...it's my time coming, I'm not afraid to die. My fading voice sings of love...and the rain is falling and I believe my time has come." Finally, she would finish quoting the song with, "...so easy to know and forget with this kiss. I'm not afraid to go, but it goes so slow." She would then close my eyes and kiss me on the forehead as I fell asleep.
On her last winter night, I came home form work and there she was lying before me with pills scattered throughout the place. To this day I have never cried knowing that she left me behind, but I remember her and thank her for every memory that she had given me over the months together. Since her suicide, I haven't made any type of effort whatsoever to even try finding someone new. When I do feel alone, I play one of those CDs and I let the words and music echo through my soul and through the empty apartment; the same apartment in which she lived and in which she died. And for a night, it brings her back to me. But regardless of what occurred four years ago, I can still feel her lips kissing my forehead before I go to sleep every winter night.