Spring was Emily’s favourite time of the year. And it wasn’t just because of the clear skies or the refreshing greenery or the blooming flowers all around. It was the season for spring cleaning!
In suburban Texas, where Emily lived with her husband Richard and her two children, spring cleaning was a yearly ritual in every household. Every member of the family was employed to sweep, dust, scrub and polish every object and surface in the house over the course of a weekend.
Emily immensely enjoyed this process. She had a streak of Monica Geller in her somewhere. She found the process of cleaning and organising her home therapeutic. Gloves on and hair tied back in a bun, she would get to work diligently—clearing out shelves and closets; rearranging books, clothes and utensils; throwing out anything that they didn’t have use for and giving away things that were reusable. She got Richard to do all the lifting and moving, and the children to do the minor chores.
The spring cleaning of that year too went like any other. More or less. On Sunday morning, Emily was carrying out the final leg of the ritual: reorganising her personal cupboard. As she pulled out book after book to brush off the layer of dust it had gathered, something fell to the floor—a photograph. Emily bent down to pick it up. As her eyes fell on the person in the photograph, she froze.
Her first love. Her boyfriend from high school. The perfect guy with short blond hair, high cheek bones and the kindest smile you would ever see in your life. David and Emily had been ‘one soul in two bodies’ for a year, before a brutal accident took David away. Emily had mourned, moped and moved on in the following years. Eventually, she had met Richard, found love once again and built a life with him. And yet, unbeknownst to her, the memory of David had been stuck in the pages of her copy of Gone with the Wind—and the recesses of her mind—all the while.
Clutching the photograph to her chest, Emily sat on the floor of her study. Tears rolled down her cheeks, as the agony of losing her lover came rushing back to her. Maybe she never truly recovered from the loss, she didn’t know. Decades after David’s passing, Emily felt as though she was mourning his death all over again.
Moments passed and eventually, the tears stopped. As she traced her finger along the photograph of David, a gentle smile spread on Emily’s face. The moment of intense grief gave way to one of love, and acceptance. David wasn’t around anymore, but she would always have the memories she had made with him. She was lucky to have had the love of this man. And that was enough.
Emily rose to her feet. It was time, she thought, to let David go. She planted a kiss on the photograph, looked at it one last time and put it away, along with the other things that she had cleared out from her home.
“Goodbye, David,” she said, quietly.