A Light on the Water

Annika Dauer

“They never tell you how easy it is to lose someone.”I say to my best friend as we carry a box to the dock.
The golden glow of the cabin and the dim flicker of starlight Shine off the water, the only light for many, many miles.
We reach the end of the dock and carefully open the box: Two photographs.
Some dried flowers.
A pile of kindling.
A stick of incense.
A lighter.
Two cardboard vessels.
“I wish I could have gone to Sophie’s funeral.”
I take one of the vessels, carefully placing flowers
Around the picture: a teen girl in a hockey jersey.
I arrange the kindling, trying not to think about it.
My friend makes the other for someone I never met.
“Do you think we’ll get in trouble for this?”
“No, I’ve done it before.” Old grief clouds his gaze.
We light them up together, watching them float away.
I take his hand. “Do not go where I can’t follow.”
A desperate plea, one I begged him three years ago.
One I used with Sophie before we parted ways.
As the vessels blaze in the dark, a tear rolls down his cheek. “You and me, right? We were meant for life.”
“So were they,” I whisper into the dark. “So were they.”