I'm walking along the path, shielded on both sides by the tall, reassuring presence of the rows of birch trees. Everything is quiet. It used to be that there were bird calls, the vibrating hums of insects, the crunching of leaves and twigs underfoot.
It's fading away now.
It started with the sudden silence of the birds. Then the insects slipped into the stillness. Nowadays, when I take my slow, aimless steps, the crackling of my footsteps is increasingly muted, blanketed in a heavy silence.
I can see other parts of my world crumbling. The trees have lost their varied textures, colours, shapes and movements. Each tree has started to look more and more like the other.
The clouds are gone too. The sky, no longer speckled with the puffs of white, looks like an opaque, soulless ceiling. The blue is becoming grayer each day.
Some days, when I look into the still pond, once a flowing river, my reflection looks blurred and distorted, my features intangible and fleeting.
I'm falling apart too. My senses are disintegrating. Touching the barks of the birch trees, now smoother, blander, with an unreal quality, I no longer feel the comforting soft firmness of the tree's skin. When I smile, I can't feel the full sensation of my facial muscles moving.
I lost my sense of smell too. That was the first to go. I remember kneeling down, putting my face to a blossom the sweet, saintly colour of lilac, inhaling deeply, and - nothing. The blossom is now a dull purplish grey.
I was terrified then. But my feelings have dulled. They reach my being as if from a faraway place, muffled, indistinct, uncertain.
I'm aware of a faint sense of sadness. Melancholy, mellowed and diluted.
My world is crumbling. You said I'd live on forever in your memory, in your heart.
I did. For a while. I thought it was just an expression to comfort departing souls. But after the lights around me darkened, faded to black, I found myself here. In this beautiful woods where we used to take long, lazy walks, hand-in-hand. I understood, instinctively, that this was me, alive, taking form and spirit in your memories.
But my world is crumbling. Your memories are evaporating. I don't blame you, you should move on. But my world is crumbling. And you're the keeper of my soul, my existence. And I want to live on. I want to feel. I want to touch, taste, smell, see, think, embrace. I'm not ready to go, not yet.
But everything is fading. The details are seeping away.
And my world is crumbling.