It's the last day of July and summer is drifting into a haze, slowly disappearing into the distance, and I wonder what has become of me.
I used to be the girl who could fill pages and pages with words that meant something. They were about love and happiness and being alive.
And now I'm... what? Now I'm a shell of that girl, the girl I used to know but now, now I haven't the slightest idea who she is.
Sometimes I catch glimpses of her, walking down the aisle in the supermarket or in the bathroom as she's combing her hair or brushing her teeth. She's lying on the couch, sometimes, and other times I catch brief glimpses of her walking down the street, the sunlight warm on her shoulders, or in passing behind the wheel of a car she pretends to know how to drive.
But mostly I don't know who she is, or where she went to after the walls crumbled in.
If I met her for coffee one evening in a Starbucks I'd like to ask her where she went. As she sips her latte with tired eyes I'd like to ask her who she is now. What happened to the beautiful girl who wrote pages and pages in notebooks and did things like cartwheel in the grass even though she knows she's not good at it and thumb through pictures in the magazines convinced she could be among them one day.
I think she would look at me, a sad smile on her lips. She would tell me she got tired of living in a battle field. There was a war raging on and staying cost her much more than leaving ever would. She would run her hands through her hair and tell me she was still there, undercover, waiting until it was safe to come out, until the war had all but ended.
It's hard to be happy and alive and write pages and pages about things like love when you're stuck in the middle of a war with dust decorating your face and the sounds of guns merging with the sounds of the flowers growing up in the warmth of the summer.
She would tell me that beauty couldn't coexist with the war, that eventually something would get over ruled. She would place her fingers around the cup and press it to her lips, closing her eyes and savoring the sweet, rich taste on her tongue and I would watch her with a wide eyed gaze, feeling a sense of familiarity, like this was home and where I was now I was just a traveler, a foreigner.
She would tell me that while she wouldn't stay gone forever right now the best thing was to sit tight, wait. There is a time for fighting, she would say, but there is also a time for waiting and you must be very wise to know which time is which.
She would lower her voice and tell me the news like she was telling me a secret "Soon the war will be over. Just wait, you'll see. Soon the war will end and I will be back for good, I promise. You just have to wait and eventually the sun will come out again and the death and destruction that has come since the enemy invaded will be gone. You have to believe that even though it is winter now there is an invincible summer. That invincible summer will not be beaten and it is within you and it is in that summer I will be. You just have to wait. And if you get impatient, like I know you're prone to do, just look inside and find that invincible summer and it is there I will be."
I look at her, this girl I used to know, and my hands shake and I want to ask her a million questions. I want to ask her how I am supposed to survive the war and how bad the devastation will get before it’s over and if I can go with her to the place where there is this invincible summer she speaks of.
As if reading my mind, this girl I used to know continues to speak, "I know you want to come but you can't right now. I don't know how long this war will last or how hard you will have to fight to stay alive but watch closely. When it's time to move from waiting to fighting you will know. You will know how to fight when it's time. The invincible summer, it is not a place. It is within you. And I, I have not left you. I am just waiting, lying low until the war ceases. I am not gone, do not worry. I am right here, whenever you need me. Just close your eyes and take a deep breath and find that invincible summer within you and it is there I will be."