The best of what I hold dear to me are not things.
They are moments.
Moments shadowed with life’s work.
Shadowed with time elapsed.
But moments not forgotten.
Moments that are on an eternal replay.
Like the sound of your laughter.
The crinkles around your eyes.
The depth in your gaze.
But also the moments that fill my eyes.
Like when I heard your voice on the other side of the phone in the middle of the night.
Little did I know it would be the last time. I would stay awake all night, everyday if I could hear it again. If I was blessed enough.
I always try to think of bad, horrible things. The least of all experiences. The somber times spent with you. With the intention that it will be far easier to live through with myself that way.
Try as I do, I can’t.
The vault with your name engraved on it refuses to offer me some. Any.
And so I go back. Back to being clumsily happy. Happy and drenched in wistful thinking of you. Because you supposed that there’s no purpose in being sad. But you forgot to mention that one day I would have to live and be happy without you.
The thoughts cross my mind.
Like, all the time.
It was this and it was not that.
It was yellow and it was sad.
It was not it.
It was me.
All of it was me.
And I always thought, what would they miss?
It was questioning their devotion.
All of it was for me.
And I always thought, how much do they love me?
Constantly doubting it.
Not because I didn’t feel it.
Because I don’t deserve it.
Are they faking it?
And I always thought, can you fake love?
Surely they can’t love me as much as they say?
Can i measure it? Their love?
Would they miss me at all?
I said it again.
Would they miss me at all if I was gone?
She asked us to write of our experiences. Of the places we had visited. The sights we had seen. What we felt. What we could touch. What we did. Who went with us. Describe it she said. So that one day, when someone else stumbles to that place by accident, they would know how you felt. They could relate. My hand shot up. What if this place is not here, I asked her. She frowned. I could tell she didn’t understand my question.
"Whatever do you mean, honey?"
Can I write about the places in my mind? I have visited them. They’re majestic, miss. They’re there whenever I wish for them, I said. Helena laughed. Nina giggled. Anthony snorted. Soon everyone in the classroom began to snicker.
"Those are not places, Delilah. That’s your imagination."
But they exist, miss. They do! I cried out with contempt.
"Tell me something, Delilah. Can you touch anything in that place?"
No, I said.
"Can you smell it?"
No, I said again.
"Can you take someone there?"
I remained silent.
"See? You need to write about a concrete place. That’s the assignment. Where you’ve been is a place in your head. It’s not real."
And that’s how I began to believe that love is not real, at the young age of 8. It’s only an illusion created by my mind. It plays tricks. It’s cunning and manipulative.
I can’t touch it. I can’t smell it. I can’t take someone with me.
"Happiness is contagious"
These wise words were uttered to me in what seems like an eternity ago.
That’s when I recall the sensual, distant memory of feeling the emotion.
But what was it?
Somewhere in the root of my pit, I still long for it.
It’s not within my grasp.
My poor lifeless fingers are always flimsy near this feeling.
If happiness is contagious, what of the grief stricken?
I seem to have developed a radar of my own.
A condition from which I suffer.
It’s known as broken hearted.
I see them everywhere.
Behind the smiles.
Behind the shades.
Behind the bogus hello’s.
The eyes never betray the broken hearted.
The grief stricken.