Don’t wake me up

The pages fall out of my book. I don’t need to keep them to remember you.

Remember that night on the beach? I was reminded of it later, much later. There was a white building on the bay and the wind was just right and the rocky grass so thin…the memory reached up and tapped me a bit on the shoulder, but I let the moment pass.

That night on the beach when you were in your uniform. You were always in some uniform. So much strife we’ve participated in. And we were talking, the same conversation we had been having for years and years. We were having it again, this time in a space of my choosing away from the glow of the white building seeping the yellow light. We were talking in the dark.

There are five white stars on the left shoulder of your uniform. There are no stars in the dark.

Ever unsure, I stand in front of you. We are almost the same height, my forehead at your nose. When I am small I will feel forever young, more familiar with these long legs I will not keep. You lean in–each hand on a bicep. You are sure. You have grown weary, in a way, of talking this through with me. We both know; we’ve decided. I’ve decided so much with you, this is part of the reason. You know. You know I know, even if I continue to use my words to push the idea around. We’re not looking at each other when you say it. We don’t need to be. I can feel the smile in the corner of your cheeks.

“Just go.”

I am sprinting.

In the building are all the people I’ve ever loved. They are sepia in the yellow light. My grandfather is there, the quiet still in the turning swirl of bodies. He is smiling, waiting, knowing it is time. I reach for his hand. We don’t speak. I will be gone in the next moment, and he is calm and sure. I sense the nod in his head, even though he keeps his still.

We have decided.

I will lose this moment. I will lose it in time. I will forget the faces and the beach and the depth of the sky. I will search for it unknowingly. Aware of its space on the shelf. Aware of its gap in my knowing.

I’ve forgotten to remember.

You will lead me places throughout my life, until finally, I remember. Even though I don’t look anything like that girl on the beach, you’ve seen me all along.


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