I wonder what it’s like to be you. I wonder where your mind wanders when you drift off to sleep, and I wonder who you sleep next to. Who would you call in the case of an emergency? Or after a bad day? Or just to say hello? There was a time when it would have been me.
I think often about that night on the pier. I wouldn’t let you take a photo of my face. You begged and begged, but I refused. “Only silhouettes,” I said. I didn’t want my insecurities peering back at you through an unforgiving photo. I didn’t want to look through images with you and feel embarrassed, insecure, nervous. I was unsure about you, a little shy. It was so unlike me to be so quiet and reserved, but somehow you brought that out in me that night on the pier. “Only silhouettes,” I repeated. And I turned my back on you and looked out at the water. Click.
I wonder where you are sometimes, what you’re up to. I remember the days when I always knew. You were in the library, or at work, or in your apartment, or on your way to mine. When we weren’t side by side, I still knew how you were spending your time. Now I know next to nothing about you, or how you spend your days, or who you spend them next to. Remember when it used to be me?
Memories. They’re fickle things, you know? As each day passes they become dimmer and grayer and more difficult to recall. When I’m in those moments with someone I love, they’re full of color and life. But once they’re gone, now that you’re gone, they’re just words and faces and shapes blended together. Shapeless and lackluster, slowing slipping away.
I think often about that night in the yard out back. The music was blaring, I was crying, you were yelling. “Choose,” you said. “It’s either all of me or nothing at all.” I knew the ultimatum would come. But I didn’t quite believe it when it arrived right in front of me. Looking back, I think about how I should’ve chosen you. But for some reason, after all that time, I just couldn’t.
Time. It’s a funny thing, you know? Always moving forward, never looking back. It’s selfish, indeed, but also the most consistent and sure thing I’ve ever known. Time always puts one foot in front of the other. Time doesn’t stop and look back and remember.
I often think about that night in the kitchen. I often think about the night eating barbeque chicken wings. I often think about the paint streamed across your face. I often think about our nights on your couch. I often thing about the hike that started it all.
You brought your camera with you that time, too. You always brought your camera. “Only silhouettes,” I repeated. And I turned my back on you and looked out at Mt. Rainer. Click.
The view was beautiful. Absolutely breath-taking. But somehow, I just couldn’t keep myself from looking back at you.
*Note: this is a very rough draft of a lyric essay I wrote for my creative non-fiction class.