Sun shone through the pines. I lay there blinking, noticing the way the microscopic bits of forest—dust, mostly—created a sort of white mist that made the very tops of the pine needles blurry and muted the sun behind them into a light gray. The needles poked me in the back of the head, but I could not stop falling. Matt was so many things. An all-around amazing guy. I contemplate him. He, the who that was, exists now only in my mind.

An elite athlete. An accomplished musician. Architect and designer. Nurturing parent. Explosive lover. All the reasons I fell in love. No one could ever replace him.

“Hello? Hey, can you hear me?” asks a familiar voice. A hand reaches toward me. “Lydia?”

I relive my last drive through our neighborhood and try to imagine it with a different outcome. Matt.