I’m a forgetful man.
Details and I do not get along.
We just don’t and I won’t remember the name of your first pet or favorite teacher. I will neglect the invisible friend you invented as a kid and you’ll probably need to tell me things again and again, and sometimes I’ll pretend I remember because I don’t want to hurt your feelings. This will annoy and aggravate you to no end, and I’m sorry for that.
I am sorry the disconnection feels like rejection when I’m forgetting faces and facts, and so many other things that happened in our past.
My brain works differently.
I’m a forgetful man, but I remember other things.
The first time I fell in love with you there were stars on your tights and you stirred like the universe might move, soft, slow, true, and that night, the light shined you from behind in such a way that you glowed angelic, electric, pure. I remember talking to you made me feel warm inside and that my nerves felt calm, like my soul was in a hot tub. I remember wanting to love you and wishing I could kiss you and I remember that I missed you even though you were right there in front of me, even though we’d just met.
I walked home alone that night, uphill in the dark.
A metaphor for wanting more, I remember wondering how far I’d walk for you one day, how high I’d climb.
I remember the tears in your eyes when you told me that sometimes life makes you so numb inside that you feel like smashing your face against a wall just so you can feel something.
I remember how you once got so drunk and then got so sick that I got you to admit that sometimes you think about suicide. I remember holding your hair back and wanting to cry. You locked me out of the bathroom and I sat down on the floor, my back against the door, wishing you’d let me in, hoping I could help if you would only open up.
Maybe that’s a metaphor, too, or maybe I just love you.
I remember lying on the ground with you so you wouldn’t feel bad about not wanting to ever get back up.
I remember nights I couldn’t offer anything more than company and touch, and I remember how unfair it felt for someone so full of light to feel such despair. I remember the hate I had for not being able to help and how I wanted to grow more arms so I could wrap myself around you. Maybe if I held you close enough, the pain would never find you.
I remember wishing love could hide you.
I’m a forgetful man, but I remember special things: the indention on your lower lip when you bite it and how much I like it, how the ink on your tattoo has bled a bit and blurred the message since we met yet still screams out encouragement.
I won’t forget how much it meant when you said you loved me for the first time. We climbed a mountain and walked out to a cliff. You took my hand and led me to the edge. I was scared of falling, but I looked fear in the face and found love.
It took time and some ache to find us.
I remember I once left work at noon, drove to the beach, and screamed at the streets the whole way there. I remember promising myself that I never wanted to feel that way again but if I had to, I would, because you were worth it.
I remember I ran down to warm water, jumped in the sea, floated on my back, and stared at the sky.
I remember crying out, “WHY?!”, and silent clouds glared back. My only answer was the lack of one. I was alone, and you were gone.
I forget the rest, but I remember emptiness.
I’m a forgetful man, but I remember random things, the way I sometimes stutter what I’m saying when we momentarily make eye contact. Your beauty distracts me, and I don’t know how it happens but sometimes intimacy feels like trespassing.
I still get nervous when I watch you get dressed, and I miss the heart tickle your giggle gives me, the pride I feel when people see me next to you, how I always love when we enter a room.
I remember how waking up with you feels like hitting the jackpot.
Don’t you see? Do you get it?
Your love is a lottery and I might forget the numbers I bet, but I won’t forget we won. I know the victory of us.
So, yes, I’ll forget certain things you said, or the name of a place that we once went, or the dishes I was meant to do when you left to run some errands. It will cause tension and we will argue, sometimes passionately, sometimes while talking in angry, murky circles around well-worn paths we made last week, and in the week before that, and sometimes I’ll follow the prints in the sand from my own two feet down a dead-end street to a place we agreed we’d never be again.
This is all true, but so is this: In the space left behind by forgotten moments and memories, my brain is drenched in love, and somewhere in that cluttered mess, there is us.
I’m a forgetful man, but I’ll remember that.