People Running to Places

People Running to Places

The last time I saw you before you turned into ashes, you didn’t know we’d never meet again in the known world, or perhaps you knew and didn’t want to tell me, you let me go with the promise of seeing each other in the morning, and I can’t know if you meant it the way I meant it, tomorrow you’ll turn into ashes, and I’m not a poet, so I mean this literally, for tomorrow I’ll only wave from afar, before they take away what’s left of you and turn it into dust, but I’ll keep thinking we’ll meet again, that you’ll come back.


The last time I saw you, I promised we’d meet again in the morning and you nodded, and I kept my part of the promise, and you kind of kept yours, but not in the way friends do, it was sneaky of you to only leave your body behind, her spirit is in a better place now, they said, and I believed them, death is all about magical thinking, and it’s been nothing but magic since that moment, everything happens for a reason, I find meaning in everything, I pretend it totally makes sense, you left just right on time, before you had a chance to fade, you wanted to be young for as long as possible and you did well, and you ran away to better places, where old is not an option.


The last time I saw you, I didn’t know I’d write about the last time I saw you, but even if I did, I still wouldn’t know that was the last time I saw you, because you can’t know when it’s the last time you see anything or anyone, but there’s always a last time for everything and everyone, and I didn’t know I’d look for you in photo albums, in museums of people gone, and I’d realize I forgot to do a backup, I’m not good at backups, I don’t have a backup plan for life after you, I never made a backup plan and it shows.


The last time I saw you, I didn’t know I’d miss who I was before the last time I saw you, that I’d only bear to watch disaster movies for days, with asteroids falling onto the earth, with floods destroying the world, because they’d feel comforting, not only my world would end, a pitiful revenge against life going on without you, and also in them we all go down together, not one by one, we don’t lose each other on the way, for hell is losing people, and we cling to hell, because we don’t know heaven yet.


The last time I saw you, I didn’t know I’d think of people running to places, people already gone, going, or about to go, about people leaving countries, homes, lives, for people are not stuck, and when they see an open door, they have to move forward, it’s ancient wisdom that everything flows, and people run to be ahead of time, they run to places, when in fact they’re running from places, from despair, pain and time, and they hope places are better, and there are other people holding them back, friends, family, doctors, pulling them back, aspiring catchers in the rye, but in an absurd, sisyphian way, who may win battles, knowing the game is rigged and the war will be lost, that people will always keep on running, and I think I’m getting old, I should be running faster too, I should hurry to do all things I haven’t done and to go to places I haven’t yet been to, I should be running in midlife crisis panic, when all I do is stay still, while other people run to places.


The last time I saw you, I didn’t know I’d spend the next few days clinging to magical thinking and that I’d talk irrational, that I’d think irrational, write in run-on sentences, write irrational, because irrational is all I’ve got, because rational is too much and I can’t handle it, that I’d talk about spirits and heaven, for I think magical, I think you left this place for a better one, and I stayed here, like people do when other people leave. We go back to living. We go back to frantically running to places, like time is running out, because it is. We go back to small, structured sentences. We cling to life, to magic, to love. And even if there is a heaven, we cling to this life, this place where we lose people, and we keep running, because that’s all we’ve got and we can’t know yet what heaven looks like.










About the Author

Mileva Anastasiadou is a neurologist, from Athens, Greece and the author of We Fade With Time by Alien Buddha Press. A Pushcart, Best of the Net, Best Microfiction and Best Small Fictions nominated writer, her work can be found in many journals, such as the Chestnut Review, Milk Candy Review, the Bureau Dispatch, and others.


Photo by Yoav Aziz on Unsplash