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The wet minty smell of a December sunrise smells like the drive back from the airport on the very first morning you would arrive. The cool smokey wind of December evenings feels like the world remembers your absence and sighs. Cigarette breaks on your balcony are haunted by the ghosts you left behind when you visited for the last time.

The explosion of over-stimulation that is every wedding misses your car parked outside, brimming with alcohol and smoking supplies. Sitting in the backseat of a car is proof of an unfulfilled promise of teaching me how to drive. Every invitation sitting on our mantel fails to address our entire family of five. Hurricanes of boozey dancers paint the skies in their celebration while I only catch the rain, soaking in how my partner has died.

Family dinners comprise of either a conscious effort to remain positive or drowning in memories while stifling cries. Maintaining ties becomes integral with everyone who used to be a part of your life. New Years’ invitations may come with best intentions yet they read like the universe’s deliberate effort to patronize. Every party turns into a fight against myself as I attend out of spite against my grief, yet find myself struggling to look anyone in the eye.

December reunions are packed with conversations too polite as we each don on a disguise of a perfect life and insist on painting the town red every night. All the beauty melted and slipped into gutters the night you died. Now clouds make up for your absence by taking your shape in the skies, while I suffocate down here navigating a life we both indulged in together, but after you died I ripped the rose-tinted glasses off my eyes so I can tear apart all that you left behind because you insisted that all the happiness we saw was all lies. So while everyone else strives to make the most of a month like December, I return every year to sit in a grave of your memories, wondering if I can ever do something to still make it right.

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