Posted by: shelliejelly | May 20, 2008

Dear K.

I have vivid memories of you that come without notice. Little pieces of what is left, like a puzzle that doesn’t have a clear image or recognizable pattern. Unstoppable and not unwelcome, but somehow incongruent with my life now. I could spend forever, perhaps I will, trying to fit these two lives together, in harmony.

We are in my blue Corolla outside a gas station, you fresh from buying two packs of cigarettes. It was summer, as it will always be when I remember you, and I had made a wisecrack that caused a smile to slide across your face. You looked over at me and simply said, “Well, I guess I won’t be giving you this,” as you pulled the cigarettes out of my reach. We laughed, together, as you handed me a pack.

You humored my silly requests, never complaining when I asked to do something unusual or seemingly boring. This particular evening I was driving us to Bingo, when, halfway there, I couldn’t remember if I’d blown out a candle. I asked you, the panic disguised, if you could remember. You answered “No,” and then asked if I wanted to turn around. I tried to be nonchalant, telling you that I was sure I had, but you knew that what I was really thinking about was my black lab and what she would do in a fire. “Let’s go check,” you said, as though it were your idea. I didn’t argue, silently changing direction, thankful for your patience.

You come flying down the stairs, two pairs of black jeans in your hands. You look at me and grin when you ask, “Should I wear my black pants or my black pants?” Talking to your Dad, I glanced over at you, returning your smile and quoting a long-lost line from a band I used to listen to in high school, “Do you wear black on the outside because black is how you feel on the inside?” You didn’t miss a beat as you said, in all seriousness, “Sometimes.”

I knew what you meant then; I know today, too.

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