This is how I will remember you

Already, I am losing her.

I once told myself that part of me would love her forever, that I would carry her beauty with me like a torch burning in the space behind my eyes.

But now, when I close my eyes and think of her, I find that her face is sketched in smoke, a mass of wavering lines that will not hold to a single form. And when I sleep and dream of her, I can no longer feel the echo of her touch on my skin – only a faint sensation of loss, fading away with the coming dawn.

My friends say that this means that I am getting over her, and I am. I can go for days without thinking of her, and when a pretty girl smiles at me in the corridor I can feel something, long dormant, stirring within my chest.

But if getting over her means forgetting her, then maybe it is a price too high to pay. I do not want to lose what little I have left of her. I do not want to lose her in this way.

So let me tell you what I still remember:

I remember the arguments, sitting in a dining hall long after the staff had asked us to clear the plates away, debates that turned on points of politics or law so small that we would laugh about it later, each secretly still convinced that the other was wrong.

I remember going to the cinema at the end of a long week of school, and how she would smuggle in little bite-sized pieces of chocolate to mix into our popcorn. We watched all the Hunger Games movies together – I think. Or did we only watch the first two? A moment’s doubt, and yet another memory silently slips away.

I remember saying goodbye at the airport, and how hard it was to look away from her crying face. What was she wearing that day? Something orange, I think, and a voice at the back of my head tells me that I had never seen her wear it before.

More.

She liked her tea, and was the only college student I knew who kept a kettle in her room.

She was neither a cat person nor a dog person – she was a panda person, and when I went to China, I bought her a small stuffed toy that she would keep beside her bed.

She was scared of leprechauns. Not the funny kind, she said, but the kind that would steal children from their cradles and cows from their shed.

She liked green and purple skittles, and would leave the red and yellow ones for me.

These cannot be the only memories I have of her, and yet when I rack my brain these are the only ones that ring with truth. Everything else has blurred together into jumbled mass of image and sensation – a lock that still hangs somewhere on a bridge; a night spent whispering words into her ear; the way her hair smelt after a shower; my fingers tracing the contours of her face.

I will write about these memories again, I know, but when I do they will be just another story, just another transient moment of pain.

All the truth I have of her, I have left upon this page.

No, there is yet one more truth she left me, a memory as clear and sharp as the spring air after rain.

It is 7 am and I am waking up in her bed for the first time. Her blinds, half open, are letting in the cold light of a winter morning. I turn, and as I see her sleeping form beside me, I feel my heart rising up on a pair of great white wings.

She will read this, I know. And to her I say: this, this is how I will remember you.

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