“Doesn’t your world feel empty to you?” I asked him.

“What do you mean?”

“So many people that were so big in your life for so many years are gone now. And in the spaces where they were there’s just emptiness.”

“Yeah, I guess I’ll just have to fill the spaces with something.”

“But with what?”

“Like they say, time heals all wounds. Maybe it fills in all the spaces too.”

I sat and let the silence digest his words for me. Time is its own entity. You only have it for fleeting moments, and when those moments are past they are only yours to recall, never to bring back and give away. When the time hasn’t come to pass yet, you can’t just take it, you must wait. Time is an intangible resource that distributes itself at no one’s will but its own. The filling of the spaces was left to the mercy of something that passes as quickly or as slowly as it wants.

“But we have no control over time. Doesn’t waiting on time make the emptiness seem, well scarier to you?”

He looked at me and shook his head. I knew what he was thinking. ‘I think too much,’ he had told me enough times with that same expression on his face for me to understand.

I shrugged off his noiseless reply but inwardly shuddered. The emptiness, it haunted me, I couldn’t possibly imagine how he was holding up to it. And then I felt it, as his shoulder next to mine began to shake. Gently, like a shiver, but enough that I had to slide my arm around his and press my cheek up against him. It was all I could do to help. Time would have to do the rest.

Murmuring, so softly I wasn’t sure if he could hear me or not, I couldn’t help but add, “I pray to God time doesn’t take too long.”

I started a little when he replied just as softly, “It will take as long as it has to.”



9 thoughts on “The Spaces Where They Were

  1. I enjoyed reading this so much. I liked the anonymity of your characters, and the “timelessness” of the scene. It could have been anyone, even me, as the teller of the tale. Thank you for sharing your perspective, and that of the other person. I enjoyed this in its entirety.


  2. Whoa. This hit me on so many levels. Waiting for time to take the sharp edges off loss, waiting for something besides duty and obligation to fill the wound left by someone’s absence, waiting for a familiar equilibrium to return. This what it means to be in the “already/not yet” – it’s beautiful and excruciating all at the same time. And yet in the waiting, there is still the expectation of peace, and hope. Thank you for this.


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