It seemed warmer this morning when I walked out of my apartment and passed the rhododendrons. The dawn was reaching toward the western darkness that still compassed the moon's sliver. Venus hovered in the treetops at the end of the road. Spring was slowly returning.

Removing my gaze from heaven and staring at the hard pavement under my worn shoes, I wondered how many mornings had begun like this. The damp asphalt reflected watery white bringing the snow drifting back again just like the day in November when she left, the winter that never ended. I get so tired of shivering.

Time to warm up the car. Sitting behind the wheel waiting for the windows to clear there's little to do but think. Drifting back to last year, no, it was the year before now. The delicious joys of reverie came on with the car's heater.

The drops clung to the windshield reminding me how we used to cling to each other all the time, everywhere. Not everyone delights in the smothering of constant affection, but we reveled in it. I never felt more god-like than when worshiping her body with mine, our hunger and desire an offering to each other. The warm air fanning brought back all too vividly the divine fire which burned in our coupling. The hair on the back of my neck raised as I recalled the sacred touches that continued from the moment we found each other close at hand at home after work, as we rolled on the grass in the presence of kings, and as we laughed while walking downtown coffee in hand.

The aroma of coffee was as incense to us. Our rambling conversations were holy words. Our presence released the emotions of a thousand years in the span of seconds. Our constant devotion brought passionate hymns echoing through the night. Our pillow talks were sermons to our souls with words from beyond our mere selves. No past was too painful to endure sheltered by the pillars of our church. No future could cast shadows in the illumination of our shrine.

I watched the rivulets condensing on the windshield as LeAnne Rime's "We're On the Side of the Angels" came on the radio.

"Is it so hard to trust it,
'Cause we've been wrong before?
There comes a time in every life,
We find the heart we're waiting for."

The blades wiped the memory clean as the rain cooled my blood. A sudden flash of ice and the memory of lies returns. How many, many lies poured down upon the newly built shelter of our love? I will never know. She was a politician of love, making campaign promises soon to be forgotten just in time to fly away again.

She once wrote of herself, that she was born with the feeling of knowing from childhood nothing ever lasted, that everything passed away. So she was always trying to make the moment immortal in memory by whatever extreme means were necessary. Savoring the image rather than the truth, the memory of the past more than the dream of the future. For what present truth could ever equal her grand dreams. My mistake was ever believing that together we could build our amazing dreams into a present reality and merge the worlds. Such was the error of my ego to think that love could bridge worlds.

The chill sucked away my air and I forgot to breathe in the burning. I coughed.

As the car warmed, my anger thawed. The truth is it simply hurt. Like the Fisher King my wound aches eternal and the Grail seems beyond reach. How can such a deep cup be so shallow?

Which is the greater lie, that we loved or that we're parted? The saddest part of all is that there will never be a way to know. The dreams of a life woven together had become nightmares. "We've been wrong before" takes on a new meaning when being wrong means never being able to trust your own judgment.

"Every time you touch me,
Don't you feel it too?
The gentle hand that's guiding us
You to me, me to you."

God how it hurts! The gentle hand that guided our lives together only to force us apart at the end. How can I ever forgive that? If my guardian angel were standing before me I'd slap him silly. I'll never trust him again.

"Heaven only knows
Why this took so long
But only Heaven knows
A love is right or wrong."

I shook my head and turn off the defroster. Who the hell do I think I am to know what's best? After all, it was her choice to leave and I shouldn't blame some poor nameless angelic friend who's only trying to help. Besides, the gift of unanswered prayers seems clear in this case. Even if I don't think so, I'm better off without her. Everyone else says so.

My mailbox sat, rain pouring off its hard metal sides, encasing words in steel. She still writes from time to time. A harmless email just to try and touch base again, a birthday greeting a month late, some loss of love poetry, whatever she thinks might keep her foot in the door. The mating call of the yo-yo, she's just checking out the web of availability. This time I might become the one to run to instead of from...until the cycle starts again. She even warned me before we ever started. Would that I had heeded the poetic lines of her life's story:

"But the fall....ah! such a wild time!
Her heart would grow restless
feet would move, eyes searching
smelling the wood smoke and leaves burning
anticipation for yuletide
and the cycle would start again"

I never write back anymore. To start the cycle of hope and love and lies, the dance of death, would be more than I could bear again. No, it's simply time to let her go. After all, she's already gone.

The radio revived me from reverie and brought me to the future present from the past imperfect.

"After all the might-have-beens,
The close and distant calls
After all the try-agains,
Don't be afraid to fall
We're on the side of angels, after all."

My neighbor comes through the trees for our carpool to work. I smile to see her again. How amazing it is to have someone so close. She smiles and hops in the passenger seat. I come early to warm the car, scrape the ice, and do little things to make her day more joyful. It's good to be wanted and useful and I get a kiss for my efforts. Maybe over time I can learn to trust again, to love again.

I put the car into gear and back out. Time to move on. We're on the side of angels after all.