If I think of you, I don’t want to think of you with the unbridled hatred that I’ve felt about you in the past. I want to think about stupid twenty-something snowball fights, balls of large wet flakes clinging to mittens like brambles. I want to think of the smell of stale beer and fried food, of places where everyone knows you, of stained carpets and seventh floor campus views and city lights lingering in the distant, even visible through thick frosty fog on the coldest of nights. Edmonton isn’t the “city that never sleeps” but there are parts of it, people, memories, that remain awake forever.
I think of you at RATT, I think of our conversations, their sounds resembling that warm rich sound of wine pouring into a thin-stemmed crystal glass. The slender words, the embarassment and awkwardness of the bold discovery of something special in someone else, that they might not even see themselves. The self-discovery, the thought that you mean more to the world, to people in the world who you love, than you thought you did. I think of our voices mingling together like interlocking hands and fingers, the stupid naive-girl smile that was painted onto me with a watercolour brush, that time I went to the bar for another drink and my head was so overcome with the artifice of crushing “love”, I put my head down gently, my hair caressing the sticky patches on the filthy worn-out surface of the bar, and showcased my pirate-yellow teeth, uncaring how stupid this gesture might seem, uncaring what my friends thought of my swollen heart, its burdens exploding like bombs of pink magic dust, again and again and again. That feeling of wishing coming alive, the wishes more real and alive than perhaps real, alive reality in itself. I was folding into you, like a flower pressed into a book. And when I go to RATT and smell those familiar smells, see faces of people that have become staples in my weekly rendevous to the pub, on campus, within walking distance of my lovely apartment, it all reminds me of the way things were before they soured and expired and shriveled into what they are now; cold frosted-over bulbs in a dirt bed.
And yet, I prefer to think of you as the person I thought you were. The person that managed to complete me simply by walking head-weak into a room and somehow managing to capture my soul in an invisible butterfly net; the person who saw me and only me, ignoring my darkness, accepting my stupidities and failed prose and inner-conflicts and over-made face; the person who convinced me that no matter who or what I was, or what I would become, I would be loved one day, and maybe even by the one person I loved more than anyone or anything else. That’s who I fell for; when I fell for that person, I also learned how to fall in love with myself.
It’s not like that anymore, and I’ve accepted that. But I won’t ever forget what you did for me, what you presented to me, what you handed to me, before taking it back by half and seizing what was slowly becoming mine for keeps. You were something though, so special. You were life and light and laughter. And that’s how I will choose to remember you from now on.