There is always one. One you must write about to forget. 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. Eyes sparkling, your knees trembling.
Yet the more I write about you the more I wonder. What would I do if you walked in the door? Would I feign regularity, repeat what a one in a thousand fancy it is seeing you here? Would I struggle, fumble my tongue around the first syllable of your name?
Or would I just ask if you remember? Memories are fickle, untrustworthy and lit with the fires of redemption, rejection and refraction.
We were eleven; close friends. You were bitterly bright, boisterous and brilliant; and you didn’t own a television. I was an image of everything you sought, I thought.
To tell it briefly I’d say: daffodils, clutched hands in torrential rain and a fleeting kiss on the cheek. Although, I’m never sure if it was me or her who received the kiss, never sure if my mind is playing tricks.
We spent hours together whilst truly apart; forgotten phone calls and firsts. We’d draw on each other in ink, tracing veins and bones. You were and will always be something I cannot achieve – which I’m at peace with, now. I was always in your periphery. I put myself there of course, pulling at the corner of your mind’s eye, allowing my quiet words to float near your ear and laughter fill the room so you knew I was here. I waited as you slipped your hands into hers. I watched as you locked lips with the next and I moved on, when you never said another word; the words.
Aged thirteen, I told you I loved you. No, that’s a lie. Memories are fickle. I said ‘I think I’m falling for you’. In hindsight, I should have been specific, I should have clarified further. By ‘falling for you’ I meant hurtling head-long, dangerously without a crash helmet into you. When I landed, it hurt, your hard, unfeeling exterior only comforting when I looked up at your face, reminded myself it was you. By ‘falling for you’ I meant spending every waking moment obsessing over who I was, who you were and therefore who I should be. I lost myself when I was lost in you. You made me feel brave, loved and when you said ‘precious’, cherished.
Not like him or the other one. They terrified – still terrify me. The power they have over me. A life spent as second best, property and never me. For some reason, I’m still convinced you would have used your power for good.