Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Imagining You

When I reconstruct you in my mind I start with your feet. You somehow always managed to leave the house in your smelly, worn-out Ugg slippers. I remember on our first date to the Suns game I called you out for wearing them. You bragged that you could get away with wearing them anywhere because they looked like regular shoes. They didn't. When you misplaced them for a while, I can't say I was too worried. When you found them again you were thrilled.

Then I see your jeans. You had more jeans than anyone I know, male or female. I remember walking into your closet for the first time and seeing stacks and stacks of them. To me they all looked identical, but you had a reason why each of them was necessary and unique. Some even had ridiculous designs on their back pockets. You laughed with me about them, but you secretly still thought they were cool. You loved how nice things made you feel fancy.

I prefer to picture you in one of your shirts that I have now. Each shirt I link to a specific memory we have with you in it. This time I'm picturing you in the grey and navy blue stripped long sleeve hoodie. I don't even think we have any pictures of you wearing it because you gave it to me after I visited for the first time. You basically soaked it in your cologne so that when I left to go back to California, at least I could sleep with your scent.

I could absolutely never forget your smile. I'd say it haunts me, but only in the very best sense of the word. When I close my eyes, I see it very clearly. After you died everyone seemed to comment about your "infectious smile." What a funny word to use, "infectious." To me it made it sound like some communicable disease. In a way though, it was. Whenever I was annoyed at you, all you had to do was turn up the corners of your incredible lips. You'd start to bare your teeth and your smile would get me. How could I look at your smile and not smile myself?

Oh God, your hair. I will forever look at that yellow Got2B hairspray and think of how meticulously you styled your hair. You loved looking good in a way I never related to. You took so much pride in your hair and getting it just right. Your friends told me that in rehab they made you wear a beanie. The staff didn't like you putting such an emphasis on your hair. It always looked good though, I'll give you that.

When I reconstruct you, I'm only able to get the most general aspects of your physical appearance. I produce a very surface level image of you in my mind. And that scares me. All I can conjure up is your clothes, hair, and smile? What about the eyes that looked through me straight to my soul? The laugh that made my whole body feel warm? A voice that instantly made me feel like I was loved, adored, and at home?

Imagining you is not an endeavor I like to start. It becomes about your slippers, jeans, shirt, and hair. It becomes about the physical aspects of you that I will never get to experience again. Although being able to picture these parts of you makes me feel a little better, they aren't the parts of you that I need.

I want to protect you as you were to me. I want to hold on to how magnetically attracted to you I was. I want to preserve every sweet compliment I remember you giving me. I want to embed the sense of belonging I felt into my heart so I will forever remember how it feels to be part of someone else.

I am going to urge myself to stop reconstructing the image of you in my mind. All it does is frustrate me. Instead, I will focus on how you made me feel. The intangibles about you that made you who you were and who you'll always be to me.

If I tap into my heart, I can remember how it feels to have your love. I can recall how it feels to give you mine. That's what I need to commit to memory. That's the image of you I'll always have with me.

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