The Missing

by Ashley Scriven

art by Julianna Blacey

The missing comes in small waves, not tidal swells like you’d expect.

The whole day can pass and I won’t even think of home.

But then-

I’ll turn to an empty wall, and flick it, expecting to find a switch.

I’ll wonder why I did that, then I’ll remember: that’s where the switch was in my old house.

And I’m wracked with longing for the place I used to be.

I start remembering my old room- my solace after hard days,

the creak of the bed springs and the shadows on the walls were familiar.

I miss the exact way the sunlight peeped into the room, not full force like it does now.

The people who sit in my room are not the same people I’m used to.

They’re not home to me yet-

they’re still visitors in my mind and I have to be on my best behavior.

The views out these windows are different-

they’re gorgeous and gosh, I’m so lucky,

but when the missing comes, I can’t stand them.

The missing makes everything here seem not as good as everything there.

And I know I complained when I was there.

I remember being excited to come here-

but in the missing I just want to go back.

Back to the fresh scent of pine trees and tinges of smoke in the air.

Back to the rocky roads and hills that left me literally breathless.

Back to the sun, the dry heat of the Valley.

Back to what I know.

The missing is heavy.

My heart suffocates under the weight of all

The memories and moments.

Their weight presses on my chest

Until my emotions slip out of my tear ducts

Warm, salty streams that I secretly love.

I’ll tell you something:

The missing is better than the longing.

For the longing carves a hole in my soul

And I can’t fathom  the depths.

I am reaching and reaching

But I’m never satisfied.

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