They’re not all bad memories.
Our first kiss—tentative, inquisitive, hungry—at the back of that import store, the moment suspended in a maze of antique Chinese furniture.
The way your apartment smelled—like Dial and Old Spice, clean and warm.
You tickling me. And me retaliating with my cold hands—or feet—against your bare skin.
You wearing my discarded bra on your head, a goofy expression on your lightly freckled face under the improvised lacy pink hat.
You chanting all the Timbers’ Army cheers during the game. Me sarcastically rolling my eyes at you so you wouldn’t know how amused I was.
You making me eggs in the morning. With Gouda—there was almost always Gouda. Now every time I eat it I can’t help thinking of you.
How you stubbornly kept your socks on even when you had nothing else on. No matter how stupid it looked and how much I teased you about it.
You laughing in all the right places when I finally got you to watch Amélie. You said you liked it, but you also knew it’s my favorite movie, so I don’t think you’d have told me if you didn’t.
And then there was the way you’d look at me with the sun glinting off the gold flecks in your eyes. The way you’d look at me down the bridge of your nose—the perfect hypotenuse of a scalene right triangle.
No, they’re not all bad memories.
They make me smile, but then my smile falters; I shouldn’t be able to remember you this way. I feel guilty—like I’m betraying the still-fragile part of me you violated all those months ago, like I’m telling her that her pain isn’t valid. Just like you did.
If they were all bad memories, would it be easier?