Searching in Familiar Places

There is a tickle between my toes
with every searing step I take
along the exfoliant sand
as I'm drawn toward the shore.

Could that be her slim silhouette
in the distance?

The sand turns compact and cool.
I leave an imprint 
that pools with brisk ocean.
Icy waves shock my ankles
as they billow with the tide.

Rising and crashing higher
when I step further.
The sound of an alluring echo
pulls me deeper.

Is it her startled squeal I recognize?

Shoulders now submerged in
a frigid torrent 
that grows wilder as I 

And I step back
because she's not here. 
But maybe going backwards is the answer...

I step out to face the rocks.
Shivering briny beads
as they cascade down my body.
They promptly dry as the clouds part
to reveal a laser beam of radiance.

At once I felt the marriage of the sweltering sunlight
and crisp sea mist.
I felt all the familiar sensations, 
but not her.

She told me 
this experience would
revive my soul.
Surely I should feel something

This was her summertime Eden.
I'm with her sister, 
her girl friends
her best friend...

She took this place for granted
and failed to realize
it wouldn't always be
within reach.

While there are many coasts to explore,
I thought that only one would contain
the relics of my past self.

She's not in any of the new places.
But I think maybe 
she's lost to this current.

I'm left only with the impression of her
footsteps along the shore;
The final clue I feared to discover.

I snap a picture. 
I look at it for 




and feel nothing.

I have her memory,
I see her,
but it doesn't coincide.

Are these places worth re-visiting?
I know I won't find her
but I'll still look

inside her local café at the table in the corner,
in the idyllic and once evocative apple orchard,
in the walls within the maze of her town's bookstore, 
on the floors of the shopping malls she came to know better than her own city's streets,

at her beloved sushi restaurant where she dined with everyone she cared for,
in the bustling game room of her favorite bar,
in cat alley,

in downtown Boston, her personal playground,
in Time Square, where she was born again with each visit,
in the many New England college towns she claimed as second homes,

at the unexpectedly labyrinthine walking trail by her neighborhood,
at her parent's house,

on Salmon Street, where she lost her mind.
in her first apartment in Nashua, where she lost 
what remained of her.

When I go to these places to make new memories,
I always fail
because I become languidly distracted by the fact that 
these familiarities 
don't feel familiar at all.

As a wave of mundane melancholy
rushes over my deadened skin,
I have to decide whether I want to force myself to mourn for her
walk away in an anticlimactic brood.

So I'll reinvent myself 
another ten times
to get high off of her ego.
And I'll go to all the new places
to arouse her hedonistic spirit.
I will only ever find the faintest trace of her
as I read her words
and cry for her
because she didn't know what I know.
"A beautiful little fool."

No more.
I have only one goal; 
to be better than her.

How to erase the memory of a person;
Delete the photos.
Never romanticize the pain.
Keep a sharp forward focus and

stop searching.

Thank you for reading! What did you think? Leave a comment below. To support my work, consider buying me a cup of coffee!

2 thoughts on “Searching in Familiar Places”

    1. Unfortunatley it can be difficult to distinguish between healthy reflection versus an attempt at recreation, especially when we are grieving or healing after trauma. Thank you for reading! I appreciate you taking the time to comment.


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