What Life Became After You Left

by Andrea Aguayo

Dad, Seda keeps barking at unknown sounds and she is due for a haircut soon.
You probably miss her. The rain keeps pouring and
I keep watching happy children with their mommies and daddies every time
I wash and dry clothes at that busy laundromat.

December is here again. I have put up the Christmas lights on our little green tree, but
you are not here to fix the random ineffective, little light bulbs.
Yet I find you in the parking lot where someone left an empty pack of Marlboro Reds.
I smell your cigarettes’ smoke when I have time to

serve Clara some food and she asks for lime;
You ate everything with lime.
I imagine you breathing next to my mom’s sleeping, tired face.
I remember how your snore would let me know

you were home. I keep reading as a hobby when I find the time to treat myself with stories about other selves and I find out
you aren’t the only one who has disappeared. Others are also dealing with
the sorrowful process of merging memories with reality.

I’ve been realizing: This is what life became after we lost you. And the other day
I realized that you are still part of my daily tasks.
I catch a glimpse of you when we are drinking warm cups of Nescafé coffee.
Remember, you loved to prepare yourself a mug of it every morning?

Once more I thought about it, when brushing my teeth. Instead of your Colgate,
I used Crest and I realized you are sold at supermarkets
every single day. You loved saying, “In this life, everything is possible.” Nowadays,
I see you every time my customers watch me scanning

their Marlboro Reds, Nescafés, and Colgates. I run back home
from work to finish checking off my to-do list.
Before leaving the bathroom I catch a glimpse of a girl who once had a father
and I feel so sorry for her.

As soon as I realize the girl is me, I tell myself you live on shelves and inside
shopping bags. You are distributed around the world and

I miss you, but I’m finally accepting what life became after we lost you.