I wonder which memories you kept.
My hands are full of them, but I drop more and more each day. No matter how hard I try, I cannot hold onto them. It’s like they’ve turned into water, and they keep sliding through my fingers, and it doesn’t matter how badly I want to keep them.
They’re slipping away, they’re all slipping away.
I should be relieved that they’re water now, when they used to be fire. They used to burn. I held onto them so tightly then, too, even though they hurt. Even though everyone told me to let go, to walk away, to save myself.
It’s so easy to say when you’re not the one burning. So obvious, so clear. Let go. But I wanted to burn because it was better than feeling nothing at all.
We made them all together, so I know you must have some. Maybe you shoved one in your pocket, only the one, with creases where you’ve folded and unfolded it, and you let all of the other ones fall away. Or maybe you keep one shoved in the bottom of your dresser drawer, and you never look at it, even though you know it’s there. Or maybe you do look at it. Maybe on rainy days, when you’re alone, when a song or a book or something like the way the sun comes in through the blinds makes you think of me.
(Or maybe you threw them all away.)
(I hope you didn’t throw them all away.)
I wish we could compare collections. I would show you the one on the boat and the one on the beach and the one on your couch and I would show you how I’ve polished them, how they shine. You probably don’t even remember that one because it was just me staggered sideways by the way you smiled at me when you got home from work. And that one because you were sleeping, and I was just listening to the beat of your heart.
Do you have any I don’t? Any I dropped? Any I lost?
If you kept any, it was probably that night.
If you kept any, it was probably that morning.
If you kept any, I don’t understand how it could be that you’re gone. How you can have them, how you can look at them, and still choose to be gone.
I wonder how many I’ve punched holes in. How many drip red with what came next. How many I’ve blocked because they hurt too badly, sting too strongly, break my heart all over again, all over again. I wonder how many I’ve polished too much, how many I’ve changed.
(Was it really ever that good?)
One day, I’ll probably forget to cup my fingers just so, to check on them, to tend to them. One day, I’ll probably forget something small at first, like the color of your shirt the night we met, and then one day, I’ll forget the color of your eyes. The angle of your smile. Your birthday, your dog’s name, the first movie we saw together.
One day, it will probably all be gone.
Until that song plays.
Until I look up at the departures screen at the airport and see your city.
Until somebody asks who the first person I loved was, the first person who broke my heart was.
And then, I will always remember.
I will always remember you.