Alyssa Lenihan

It’s been two months. Time presses on sluggishly.  My life is a never ending cycle of meaningless interactions and sleep.  Get up, get coffee, work, sleep.  I’m not certain why I continue to go, hell I don't know why I even get out of bed. What happened two months ago…I can’t move on.  


Dear Kim, 

I’m not sure where you are; you left so suddenly. I like to think you’re adventuring some ancient forgotten temple. Like in Uncharted, remember?  Life isn't a video game though. Sometimes I forget that.  It’s difficult to come up with new ideas once your muse has disappeared.  I suppose even the most subpar designs I’ve submitted have been enough, but without your light bleeding into them, they’ll never become more.  

Cleo passed.  Not long after you left.  She waited for you that night.  Tail wagging, looking eagerly up at the stained glass of our door.  The crooked wreath on the outside masking the face of the man waiting for me.  His gloved finger tapped lightly against our rusty doorbell.  The one I told you I’d replace, remember?  I took it off. The noise makes me uneasy.  

Winter hit last week. A cold snap killed our garden.  Though I’m sure it would have gone soon anyways, without you here to care for it.  

My pen seemed to hesitate.  Writing had become increasingly difficult, the cold making my hand shake.  The weathered wood of my desk under my hand was soothing. Something permanent. A gift from my mother when I went away for university.  The matching chair had a cushion, long since worn from years of wasted time. Scrolling through social media, online shopping, not paying attention to her. 

A glance at the window revealed light snowfall, and hoarfrost crackling against the glass. The temperature dropped to below freezing two weeks ago, killing all plants and trees in the area.  It seemed fitting to my mood lately.  

The light, bright first days of winter bled into gray sludge and frozen fingers waiting for the bus in the morning.  I should have bought new gloves.  The paper crinkled under my fingers.  

You know, sometimes I think back to our dorm in college.  You, me, and Amanda.  That first year seems so surreal.  A blur of parties, essays, ramen.  None of us could cook back then.  The majority of our paychecks went to take out Chinese food.  

I can still smell your usual order.  Tangy orange chicken and white rice, with a side of crab rangoon.  Our greasy fingers all over controllers as we giggled and yelled at whatever video game you loved that week.  

You’re the reason I chose this degree.  The smile on your face…It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  Pearly white teeth, rosebud lips.  The way your eyes crinkled, and the little snort you emitted when laughing.  Those were the reasons I fell in love with you. I remember the night you told me you loved me too.  

It was fall, the leaves had turned golden and red coating the ground.  You were wearing your favorite worn jeans, with that cute skull sweater.  You walked me to a tree, and sat down underneath.  The loose dirt crunched as I eased myself next to you.  You had a very determined look on your face, as you fished around in your pink backpack.  I smiled nervously, picking at a thread dangling from my jacket.  

Your sweet voice declared you had loved me since the night we met, claiming I was the most breathtaking human you had ever had the pleasure to meet.  In your hand rested a box the size of an apple.  I gently grasped the blue velvet.  It opened with a snap, revealing a gorgeous ring, set with a small opalescent jewel. Rays of sun sparkled against the milky surface of the stone, reflecting shards of a rainbow.  

“It’s an opal!” you stated proudly.  I wondered briefly just how many hours of work it had taken for you to purchase this.  You eased it onto my finger, and kissed me.  Your lips were as soft as they looked, and your chapstick tasted like peaches.  You and Amanda never figured out why I bought peaches every time I went to the store after that; I had hated them before you.  

I hated a lot of things before you, Kim.  You shed light where darkness lived in my world. Your breath was a fire, lighting a path through the darkened maze of my life.   

You once told me you could destroy every demon that lived within me, but it seems as though all you did was banish them to the parts of my brain your light could not reach.  Week by week, your light has slowly faded.  And they came back, Kim. Worse than ever.  

Every moment my eyes are open is a struggle.  I wake up and reach for you, only to find the bed sheets are chilled. My dreams are filled with your smile, the crackle of fire and the mix of our perfumes.  Mine, a light bamboo and lime mixed with the heavy floral scents you love so much.  Loved.  I’m still having trouble adjusting to that.  

A sigh escaped me as tears began to leak from my eyes.  My engagement band flashed as a car sped by.  A delicate silver ring, set with small opals around the entire thing.  My ribs ached from sobs that longed to escape. I told myself I would stop crying after that first month.  Waking up to tear stained pillows each morning, sobbing throughout scalding showers. Stray tears had even escaped at work.  

I begged every god in existence to bring you back to me.  For that officer to have never rang the doorbell. I prayed for a lot of things.  The paper he handed to me that night is crumpled into a ball, shoved under our bed.  My bed.  The calls haven't stopped. Your dress was ready yesterday, I had to tell them to restock it.  

The woman told me there would be a restocking fee; I told her I didn’t care.  I turned my phone off that night.  I can’t bear to look at the lock screen anyways.  It’s still the picture of us on our first vacation in Italy.  You loved the food there so much.  

We had walked through the streets without a care, laughing and smiling together.  It hurts to think about.  I bought you a necklace, a small sun with an opal as the center.  You loved them so much, I showered you in them.  You said the shards of rainbow reflected the light in my eyes.  I never agreed, but I just loved to see you happy.  

Love always, 

Your Rainbow


With shaking hands I pull the cover up, revealing the balled up paper.  


Ms. Etheridge, 

This letter is to inform you that Kim Lu has passed away.