The turquoise Victorian house in Daly City, California where, on the clear days that the San Francisco peninsula rarely offered, you could see the ocean from your third story window.
That time in eighth grade english class when your friend Danielle put on eyeliner without using a mirror and showed you the crooked stick and poke tattoo on her knuckle that she did alone in her room the night before. She lived across the street from your junior high.
The afternoons when your sister had soccer practice so your mom picked you up two hours later and you sat on the floor of Danielle’s olive green living room and played with the cigarette butts in her dad’s ashtray.
A 1967 Pontiac Firebird with vanity plates that read “CLAWDIA”. Everyday you prayed it would still be parked on the side of Reche Road with its hand-drawn FOR SALE sign tacked to the windshield because it was your dream car and in four years you would be sixteen.
The time when your niece got straight A’s her first semester of high school and your sister helped her dye her hair bright red as a reward.
When a forty-five degree day in February felt so good, like parallel parking or doing drugs.
The four hours every Thursday night you were the monitor of a darkroom on your college campus. Nobody ever printed on Thursday nights because there is no art class on Friday mornings. You did not mind because it felt better to be alone, even though sometimes you were afraid of ghosts.
How hard a girl’s hands shook as she handed you six hundred dollars in cash at your retail job in exchange for a dress that she had to wear to her father’s funeral forty five minutes later. It was black and printed with light green jelly fish.
Your friend in Westwood that always parked her car as close as she could get to the cemetery on Glendale Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard.
The night you drank Four Loko in McCarren Park with a bunch of bike messengers from the Bronx. Four hours of Chicken Hut slang because your friend was dating the raspy-voiced girl with dreads and a leopard-print sleeve tattoo. The next time you saw her was on The Sartorialist.
Joni Mitchell’s Blue album, “The Stranger Song” by Leonard Cohen, “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson, and how your dad let you listen to Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman” on repeat when he drove you to the airport.
The black film canister with the gray top that you kept pills in the year you didn’t sleep, the year you lived alone, and the year you stopped talking to everybody because you were afraid. Your favorite outfit was brown corduroy pants with a navy blue thermal until you found a purple, sparkly crop top in the free bin at a food co-op by your house. That night you dyed your hair orange and decided to make friends.
Your gothic mexican roommate’s grandmother who made you peanut butter sandwiches for the drive back to college after spring break. Her duplex apartment is in Los Angeles’ Echo Park neighborhood and she told you she loved you.
Bedtime stories about Sister Pontius Pilot versus the your dad and the Catholic school boys at Mary Star of the Sea. When you found out from your uncle that she didn’t exist you cried because you believed in her and so this meant you had to believe that she died.
The first summer after college that you spent painting houses in Maine with your best friend. In September, business slowed down and you moved to New York City.
The summer you lived in Redondo Beach and walked to your retail job at the mall. Every bar on Pier Avenue blasted “Yeah” by Usher and you and your roommates would drink wine out of water bottles on the beach at night. In the morning after your housewarming party, there were no Cantaloupes to eat for breakfast because someone else’s friends had rolled them down your street.
A party at your father’s parent’s house in La Brea when you mistook a deviled egg for yellow frosting. You were four years old and vomited all over the deck.
This reenactment: Face to face with your ex-boyfriend at a crowded dance club in New York City. He put his hand on your forearm, you both said nothing, and parted ways.
To observe is not to have. To observe is to watch is to remark is to perceive is to notice is to remember and to keep, but you will never have any of this ever again.