We never remember it exactly the way it happened. I put on glasses to change the glare, or stop the tears. I wish I could remember every detail. But, it’s an imprint. It’s edges have been worn by the years. All that’s left are the threads of emotion, often caught on rough edges that refuse to be dulled.
We sat like three birds in a row. Sandpipers on the stretch of beach, hair salty and skin stinging from sun and water. We looked at the ocean and you sighed. I didn’t know why you were sighing, but my heart sighed with you. Each exhale in unison. Perhaps, we both knew, but couldn’t speak the words. It felt the way I assume the wind feels when pulled through the trees, effortless and aching. We couldn’t stay there.
I tried to memorize every detail: the way her elbow rested on your shoulder, the laugh that burst from your lungs, and the sand prints we had scattered all around us. The short years had pulled us together, knit the places that we were afraid of into each other and into something joyous. I didn’t know what would happen when we left this place.
I sighed. My lungs refilled with breath. And, there was acceptance and a realization of a gift that I would always carry. Those stitches always there to remind me that this happened. Whatever happened next could not change what had been. We never remember it exactly the way it happened. I put on glasses to change the glare, or stop the tears.