The smoke from the lantern was the misty grey of an uncertain sky. Brother, sister and I were gathered around the dim light attempting to play a secret game of cards, because mother had told us it was bad for our eyes. Moore was losing as usual, he was barely five, then we heard the all too familiar voice of thunder "What did I tell you children about playing cards in the dark?" This, this was the recipe for all my favourite memories as a child. Outdoor mattresses and hand made fans were all we needed to spill the secrets of the day. Falling asleep, one child after another but mother stayed up to chase the mosquitoes from our skins and the nightmares from our dreams. This, this was our language of love. This was where we found God. Yesterday I tried to count how many hours we've spent together in the last seven years. I stopped at zero in the last fourteen months, I couldn't go any further. I'm forgetting what lantern smoke smells like. I'm forgetting what your smiles look like. I've tried and failed a thousand times to wipe your tears over the phone. Distance doesn't take kindly to sympathetic lovers. So I miss you like fingertips miss palms when uncurling a fist to embrace the cold, knowing it's for the best. We tell ourselves it's for the best, that roots like me have to branch out to break ground. That apples don't fall far from the tree but must roll away from the shade to see the sun. My mother is the settling dust that brings the best out of all of us. So I know what she means when she says "don't come back." She means be the best you can be, the world deserves you as much as we do. Wear your name as tight as your skin and if they say it wrong correct them. Today I found an old lantern in a store on a street somewhere too far from home. The smoke doesn't smell like I remember.