by Rebecca Gaffron
We grew, you and I, from different roots. First side by side, then gently touching, until our trunks entangled. We intertwined, slowly grafting to each other. Became a marriage tree. Proud like the very earth, we stood convinced that together was all we could ever be; all the while pounding one another like waves crashing against ageless crags, oblivious to the danger of erosion.
And the year our foundation crumbled felt like Fenrir swallowing the sun. We wept salt-rivers, leaving our fragments awash in mud. Our stars turned black and in despair I said we should be separate and you agreed. So we pruned ruthlessly, trunks and limbs, and following reason, doubted if anything could survive such a drought and darkness as ours. Then separately we turned the remains of our scarred and withered limbs in new directions, hoping to grow again.
Now there is a crimson lotus growing from my skin. I had it inked there just days after you left.
When the blood dried, I found the letters of your name woven into the flower’s curling, jade-green stem. Unintended marks, like some divine message that faith shaken is not the same as faith lost. And without realizing, we have tended each other’s roots, waiting. Knowing without knowing that lotus flowers grow deep in the mud, beyond the sun’s warming beams. Knowing without knowing that one day we would bloom again, bathed in the light of each other.