You probably think I don't remember...and that would be a safe bet...but I do. I remember the tight feeling in my chest, thinking how absurd it was to pretend to be looking at books when I really did go to bookstores all the time to look at books. But I wasn't interested in the books at your store.
I remember thinking that I had never seen anyone do a shitty job with such devotion and care. That's a weird thing to remember, granted, but it was my first impression. Respect. Followed by softer realizations, ushered in on fluttering wings. Soft, tender things. Smiles. Brave in the face of a complicated life.
Kindness. There is nothing as beautiful. I was sad in the way that you become accustomed to. I didn't realize that I was. I had friends, and I worked with kids whose eyes shone with a kind of demented hope. Hurting, I was surrounded by beauty and still you stood out.
There are some things I will never forget. Eugene approved...he's a tough sell sometimes. I liked to talk to you. I let you read my stories when no one read them except Pat and sometimes my family. I liked the way you called me on my shit. And I liked it when you knew to just let it ride.
Time is a subtle deception and, in hindsight, I knew that it was going to happen. I put it off because I was afraid, but part of me knew that we'd end up here. And 'here' is not a place. It is a kind of life. The kind I always wanted, but was afraid to ask for.