I didn’t know it was going to be the last time I ever saw her.
It’s been 3 years and sometimes I still catch myself thinking she’s up at her apartment, probably playing bingo with her friends or staking claim to the rec room of her apartment building, ensuring our annual family holiday party space was secured.
I didn’t know it was going to be the last time I visited her apartment.
All the shelves and counters lined with candles, figurines and picture frames stacked ten deep on shelves. A space for all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins to live in photographs, always surrounding her. Some frames holding recent photos and some stalling out as the grandchildren aged out of yearly school updates.
I didn’t know it was going to be the last conversation I ever had with her.
She was the happiest I’ve seen her in my entire life, those last few years. She had reconnected with an old crush from grade school (from years and years and years ago) and they had become inseparable. He had given her a promise ring and she wore it so proudly, showing everyone around what he had given her.
Nate had finally proposed to me after six years of dating and the last time I went up to visit we both showed each other our rings. I will forever have the image ingrained in my mind, of her pale blue stone catching the light, the same exact shade as the blue of her eyes.
I didn’t know she wouldn’t be around to make it my wedding that we so excitedly talked about.
I didn’t know it would be the last time I ever saw her.
I didn’t know it would the be the last time I hugged her goodbye.