I know now, I wouldn’t stumble on your name. The phonemes would slip, unrequited perhaps, from my mouth in an exasperation of air if you walked through the door. All because I truly cannot remember the last time I saw you outside of my mind; a palace and prison. I do not think my heart could bear it.
You know, I’m different now. I’d want to show you that, although somehow I feel you already know. Memories are untrustworthy so who knows your last memory of me. If I appear at all. Yet, I cannot help guess that, to you, I’ve changed, even if you’ve remained the same. To you, I’m either the girl you always knew and didn’t love, the girl who lived and so was altered or the girl who, finally, intimidates you.
There is always one who will define us in some way. You are that person; I cannot deny, I am glad. I will miss who I was with you, for you. I was innocent, untouched and the girl he fell in love with; even when I wished it was you.
I’ve been writing this for over an hour now. The entire time you’ve been mumbling and staring into the distance – I know your mind is blank. Although waxy, a spark twinkles in the sleepy mucus when your mind finally wanders free. Free from the prison your frail, old body has become. There is always one you cannot forget, for me, it is you. In a reverie of heartache for he who scared me, I went looking for you. A widow, I licked my inky fingers searching through numbers indented on scratchy pus paper. Listened and typed, knocked and knocked again. Finally, I found him, not you.
I am writing this in the hope he remembers you. Remembers us, aged sixteen; a campfire, friends and a tent. You ran through the fields naked, I, too shy, retired. You were boisterous, bright, brilliant and somehow you always had time for me. Do you remember how your knuckles brushed my shoulder? Your eyes bored into my back, steadily rising and sinking. I helped you find your clothes. I will never forget the two minutes I had lying by your side.
You know, I’ve visited him every day now for the past fortnight. You’ll be happy to know he’s handsome still. He has your eyes, your dimple and the corners twitch familiarly when he attempts a smile.
They say short term memories deteriorate first, long term ones are safer with a lock much harder to force. I’ve seen moments where men like him have regained a sense of themselves through music, film or photographs. I’ve watched face wrinkles reanimate with recognition, mumbles switch to warbles and blank stares become filmy sparkles. And yet, you fail to appear and he remains…
There is always one. One who on most days has retired in solitary confinement somewhere in your temporal lobe. Until a scent, sight or song draws them out; their face perfectly clear as if bathed in sunlight. For you and for him, my love, I hoped it would be me. I write this, in the hope you will remember.
I began writing at 6pm, already widowed. The nurse rang at 11pm. A fall, she says. He breathed your name, she says. A widow of love, I shall remain.