April has come again, wet and dreary, like the woman who lay frozen beneath Lake Tahoe all winter long, and now rises once more to dry her soaked Victorian dress in the sun ere it comes out. Another rainy April, and another year without Bold Riley. This is no surprise, for I heard talk that he wouldn't ever return. The source was reputable; it spoke of how well he was doing, and how Grace has left him blessed beyond all human recount. No doubt he is happy, but is there some longing hidden within?
About a month ago, I snuck back into his room for the first time in a great number of years. It was stripped of all his artifacts, gutted and lifeless. It was a ransacked gallery, with impressions of where the art that reflected his soul once hung. Without it, it was just four walls with a bunch of desks.
I found my old seat and for a moment I sat down, but perhaps I was mistaken, for my seat had a view of a lovely tree that I used to watch every day as it changed its robes from fiery autumn, black winter, pearly spring.... If my seat hasn't changed, maybe I have.
I never could have foreseen how this journey has shaped me. This was not the end I had in mind. I have learned to love, but still don't know what it is like to be loved. Gone is the young girl who sat in weeping reverie; in her exact stead is a young woman of silent and somber dignity, preparing for another long journey. When I leave, the memory of Riley will be gone, too, for I am one of the last who knew him still left in this place.
But I have realized that life is full of Rileys, who are thrown into our lives and then creep away with the coming dawn. The parting rends, but the cracks and tears are filled with fond memories, and things that we have learned from those who have touched us for even the briefest moment. We may forget their faces and the sound that their voices make when they break the silence, but their gifts will forever remain. Our hearts hold the secret to immortality, so long as there is someone who will remember you. This is the thing that we all desire.
Soon it will be my turn to pass, to dissolve until all that remains of me is a whisper in the wind and a shade in some Romantic's recollection. Perhaps in the land of Non-being, where I am destined, I'll find Riley again. Perhaps Fate has plans for both of us come some distant White Stocking Day. Oh, gracious Memory, bless us both if that day comes! If not, I suppose this is farewell.
Adieu, Bold Riley, forever.
Away I must go...