I became a widow at the tender age of nine.

My betrothed, Yuri, and I were both seven years old at the time of our wedding. We married on a cool fall evening in the backyard of my childhood home. We didn’t invite many guests, just our parents, who agreed to help us by overseeing the ceremony. As the sun began to set, my father walked me down the homemade aisle I had designed from cardboard paper and silver glitter. Our mothers feigned their cries as Yuri took my small hands in his and leaned forward to kiss me. His lips were soft and tasted of sugared plum, his favorite snack; sweet with an edge of bitterness.

After that night, we remained blissful for two years, during which we kept attending elementary school and watching anime at his house and pretending things were okay, even though they, things, weren’t okay. Yuri was sick. I was in love. I stayed by his side until the end. The earth continued turning and the sun rose and set each day, unaware of our pain.

Yuri died of leukemia. His parents moved away to a different city to begin a new life with better memories. I lost my husband and best friend and time moved like a sluggish liquid as I slept and woke and swam through the remainder of my school days.

Robin Bissett is a teaching artist and writer from Central Texas. She enjoys sharing stories and strengthening literary communities.
Her twitter handle is @cosmosghost.