You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss
A sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by

Time passes so quickly. The years pile up. The past becomes a deeper resource, or a chasm, depending on your perspective. It seems like only yesterday that you were a nineteen year old boy with no idea what he wanted to do with your life. It seems like only yesterday she was a sixteen year old girl with stars in her eyes fumbling with words and trying to act like she was all grown up.

Today my life's muse turned thirty-four. The last time I saw her she was twenty-six. I sometimes wonder what joys and hardships those years brought her. More often, I long to know. Her first twenty-six years brought a strong mix of both, weighing more heavily on the side of internal hardship. The path in front of her when we spoke for the last time was not an easy one. Neither was mine at that point, yet there was a lightness to my life at that point and a great heaviness in hers.

She always had a great childlike quality to her, and yet she was wise beyond her years. She taught me more than she really knows and changed my life forever. Despite every bit of turmoil that was ever involved in our relationship, I can honestly say she never did me wrong. She went out of her way not to cause me harm or hurt me. She was always too afraid that she would because she knew how deeply I loved her. She made herself into a ghost. The only reason I can come up with for her doing so is rooted in her inate fear of harming me.

"I could never bear to hurt you.
It would kill me if I knew that I did."

She was a woman with an inescapable need for revenge against something she could not even define. She was angry at the world. There were reasons for her anger that I knew of and reasons I could only speculate on. She needed to go it alone, or at least go it alone as much as possible. She retreated into herself and lived in pain. I still feel her pain. The gift of empathy and my sense of things that aren't right in front of me reminds me daily of her pain. Sometimes I see her smile. These are good days. My life leaves me emotionally unaffected by pretty much everything. At least in the traditional sense. I can channel everything into a sense of understanding and find reason for it all. Yet, there is a ghost from the past that makes me feel things I cannot control. Her ability to do so without being present in my life in any physical way makes me love her even more.

Too many have died in recent years. My life becomes one of watching departures. I know you are out there somewhere. There is still time in this life for ghosts to come out of the shadows. You cannot hurt me any longer. Life is so fragile. We are both still in this place and yet so far apart.

Happy Birthday, MJD
I hope it was one to be remembered
May I be able to say so in person next year

For those of your who expected this to be about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning the Super Bowl, I'm terrible sorry. They won the Super Bowl. I was glad.