You died on a Wednesday. It’d been over a year since we’d seen each other, and I wasn’t sure where things were left between us, or if we would ever see each other again.
When I got the news, I couldn’t process it. My mind didn’t jump to the last conversation we had together, or the way we fizzled out with no explanation, or even the intense anger I felt after that.
Instead, I thought about that time you took me to the ocean. You wore this crisp red flannel and tucked a cigarette behind your ear. We drove to the seaside late one night, chattering about nothing in particular.
I’d never been to this beach before, but you swore it was your favorite place in the area. We shimmied along the edge of the cliff until we finally saw the ocean and its black inky waters, where we sought refuge in this little alcove carved out of the rock.
The moonlight reflected off the water and leeched the color out of everything, leaving just our pale floating faces turned toward each other. I remember kissing you and laughing at how cold your skin was. Outside of that moment, everything paused.
A little while later, I was sitting huddled in the warmth of your car while you fiddled with the heating system under the hood of the car. You slammed the hood shut, the cigarette perched on your lower lip and the wind ruffling your shaggy blonde hair.
I don’t remember much of that night, except for the unmistakable feeling of happiness. In the chaos of growing up, becoming independent and figuring out ourselves, we found time to just enjoy one of life’s constants, spending time with someone else.
I wanted you to know that while me and some of your friends were spending time at the cliffs for your memorial last month, I thought about that moment. I hope that’s okay.