I grew up in south Florida. One of my most vivid memories is laying in bed as a child, listening in the dark as a hurricane raged around me. I wondered how it would begin, the dismantling of my home. I heard the creaking, the old wood groaning, the snapping. Would it be a huge breaking pop, or would it be a sneaking, a snaking of sound as the splinters peeled away and the walls thinned?
I hear those noises inside my mind. They came in through my ears that night and never left. Most of the time they are whispers, a quiet hum in the background, a gentle reminder of the possibility of chaos. In April they are the loudest. April is most like that night, shaking in the dark, wondering how the end will begin.
On April 15th, 2008 I lost my lover. He committed suicide. His last words were to tell me he loved me. I didn’t respond. He said he understood. Then he flew away on a bullet.
The next year, on April 15th I got my tattoo outline done. The image was hugely symbolic. He was my wings. We often joked that without me to weigh him down he would just fly off into the ether. I steadied him, he gave life to my imagination. He served magic with coffee and myth with dessert. He was worthy of epic poem songs sung at sunrise by hairy vikings and strong jawed women.
I planned to have the design completed on April 15th of the next year. Life, however, had a different plan. And the next year, and the one after… life just happened. I lived. I grew. I healed. But I carried his unfinished tribute on me, on my back, like his poor dead body, light as a bird. Always, he rested there in my skin, a reminder of his warm body curled against mine, and his light breath in my ear.
The time has finally come. The universe has finally given me the green light to complete my tribute. I have carried him inert long enough. It is time for him to fly again.
I can hear the growing winds of my grief coming. This year, however, I will not cower in my bed. I will not tighten my lips and swallow my fear. I will wipe my tears, open my mouth, and howl as I leap into the storm. The love, the world he spun around us will carry me above the storm, and hold me there, safe above the noise.