Do you remember the day we met?
I was younger, then, still floating in that awkward pre-adolescent stew, and rather convinced that I’d like to keep to myself. You’d have none of that. So boldly you marched up to me, unflinching from the silence that perturbed others.
“Hey,” you said.
“Hey,” I said back.
We immediately settled into a silence. But it was different from my usual silence — it was warm and comfortable. We didn’t have to say anything; at that moment, it was enough to simply bask in each other’s company. As would become our habit in the future, you broke the silence first.
“So… You wanna hang out, or…?” The words trailed off of your lips like rain falling from the edge of a roof after a storm.
I smiled, and we both knew that that was all the confirmation we needed.
Do you remember that time you led me to your secret valley?
You told me it was your special place. You led me by hand, complete with a sock over my eyes as a blindfold so I wouldn’t know how to get back there again. You told me that if I ever told anyone what I saw, you couldn’t be my friend anymore.
When you took off the blindfold we were standing in a valley hidden from everyone. The small trail we’d come from was nearly blotted out with leaves and shrubs and pebbles, almost unrecognizable as a path of any kind at all. It was where two mountains met higher in elevation. One piece of the mountain blocked this tiny valley from view. You told me you had stumbled upon it on a hike one day. You showed me the art you were creating on the piece of the mountain that was responsible for this hidey-hole to even exist. It was the most beautiful oil painting I’d ever seen. You explained that you’d done a beach scene because you thought it was ironic for one to be here, so high up in the mountains. I never told anyone about your secret place, and I never told you I could see through my blindfold.
I promise I haven’t been back. It just felt sacred, a secret meant to be kept.
Do you remember when the harshness of life boiled over and we went for a drive like we always did?
Only, this time, you didn’t stop or turn at the edge of town; you just kept going. And as the trees and fields flew past neither of us questioned what was happening, just feeling the intense freedom and fear of not stopping, feeling more in control of our lives than ever before, glancing excitedly at each other with wild grins slowly tugging up the corners of our mouths. It took me five minutes to realize that you weren’t singing along with the radio anymore, and another ten for you to turn it off. We glided along the road in silence, listening to the growl of the engine and the fuzzy white noise of our thoughts.
And then we talked, laughing breathlessly and unbelievably, spinning wild romanticized imaginings of what life would be like if we just kept going.
Do you remember that day you took me to the top of a little hill and sat me down there so we could watch the sunset together?
We were happy there, grass rustling in the wind and licking at our ankles and thighs, the sounds of our conversation gradually growing into faint murmurs in the dark as the sun faded away beneath the horizon. The stars came out, then, twinkling above us, and I laid back in the grass to peer up at them; I told you the names of all the brightest, most important ones, and then we started making up names for all the others. It might just have been the best night of my life, lying on that grassy hill with you, holding your hand tight as though you might fly away at any second. And really, you might have, with those invisible wings of yours made of the big dreams and ideas that bubbled up in your head like so many beautiful flowers. Your eyes always lit up when you saw that the sun was about to go down, and my camera was full of pictures of particularly colourful goodbyes the sun had given us, winking at you before going to sleep for the night.
You were one of the best things that ever happened to me.
Do you remember that? Because I certainly do.