A memory about a girl.
It was one of those unforgettable moments. The ones that you experience only a scarce few times in the seasons that you get to be alive in this world. You know the ones I mean; the ones that you can still feel for as long as you live-just like you are still there. Each one haunts you because you know that it will happen that one time. It lasts long enough to brand it's mark. Then it is gone forever.
It usually involves a woman, and this one was rare. Sometimes, when old men sit back and tell stories, one of them will speak in a hushed and respectful voice. He will tell of having known a lady that makes a man know his purpose. The others will listen quietly, with almost reverence. She was that kind of wonderful.
It was the beginning of the last day that we would get to spend together. I think my heart knew it. I think hers did, also. What I for sure knew, what consumed me, was that I could not be more in love than I was with this girl. Nor could I have felt any luckier than to be sitting beside her as we drove down the interstate heading toward another day of grand adventure.
We were talking, sharing things in the easy way that seemed natural whenever we spent time together. Then a song came on the radio. A song about leaving and loss.
She sang every single word, note for note, flawlessly-as if she had written it herself. Her voice was not a stage voice; instead it was as soft and as sweet and as beautiful as she was. The love and hidden heartbreak in the song came from her soul and took over the music. It dumbfounded me, and I just sat there and listened.
First I had no idea that she could sing, I had never heard her before. I can still hear her, still feel that voice deep down inside me. It still moves me. It was yet another piece of this woman that stunned me.
But then a nagging realization began to soak in. The idea that this moment was important-it meant something. What it meant was not good.
We spent the day having adventure. It was, as usual when I was with her, one of the very best days of my life. This lurking feeling of impending doom was there, though. I knew the signs of the end even when I did not want to look.
We tried to come to grips with it on the way home. I could tell that everything I had available to promise her was not going to be enough to hold her. Women of her caliber require more than absences and still-unproven dreams.
We spent that last night together, and she did everything she could to make it a night that I would never forget. It most certainly was that. But I could not. That song, and the emptiness that I was feeling, was crushing my chest and would not let go.
I left the next morning and I have never heard her voice again. Except I still hear it these years later. I know I always will. The voice of the love of my existence, singing me goodbye.