This weekend, I worked on cleaning out my basement. I know you've never seen my basement, but it was kinda crazy. Still is, really. I only got about half under control and that half still isn't perfect.
It was a lot of throwing stuff away, a lot of sorting through old things. A lot of re-living parts of my life, sometimes with smiles, sometimes with tears in my eyes and a lot with that Scarlet O'Hara, "As God as my witness..." face on.
I found a huge box of pictures. I shouldn't keep pictures in the basement, but I do. I think, partially, because I want them to survive the tornado that I'm always sure is coming next week, next month, next March.
I knew that I should keep moving, I should just ignore them and get back to the hard work: the furniture moving, the tossing of slightly moldy stuffed animals, the organizing of books, the putting of Christmas stuff back where the Christmas stuff goes.
But, I thought, I needed to do this. I needed to go through my pictures and pull out the Ex's pictures and give them to him. I needed to let go of some things, like the ridiculous panarama pictures we took on our honeymoon and all the pictures I had of his cousins and the pictures his mom gave me of him as a little boy. I need to get it out of my house, because it needs to be my house.
So, they were all mixed up, these pictures, which was a little surreal. There I was at 3, looking for eggs in the front yard; there I was at 22, standing next to the Christmas tree wearing an awful snowman sweatshirt; there I was at 17, in a R.E.M. t-shirt and a top hat; there I was at 30, pregnant at the zoo, there I was at 19 wearing a Strawberry Shortcake top with my arms around a girl whose last name is on the tip of my tongue.
All of those memories were a little disorienting. And then...
Then, there was you. I don't have a lot of context, because it was just you, nothing else in the picture. I think it was before we went to London, but not necessarily.
But looking at that smile, that infectious, amazing smile, that glint in your eyes and that tilty way you always held your head, I remembered something that I had forgotten. I loved you. I never called you my best friend, you were never really one of "my boys," but you were one of my truest friends, and I loved you so very much.
But it all came back to me as I looked at that picture. I remembered how good you were, how kind you were, how you never let me down or hurt me or let me hurt myself. How you always took up for me, especially when it was me putting me down, especially when I deserved it.
I remembered how you once got me drunk at 6:30 a.m. to make me stop being mad at you and how that was one of the best days of my entire life. I remembered how you told me to shut up when I was making an ass of myself. I remembered all of it. All the stupid things we did, all the time we spent making fun of the people who hurt us, all the Ultimate games, all of it.
I remembered the night before I left, sitting in the cold grass and looking at the stars and praying that you'd ask me to stay and praying that you wouldn't because I didn't think I could.
I've kept a finger on most people, tracked them. Facebook helps, blogging is good, Twitter works in a pinch. But I've lost you entirely. I don't know where you are or who you became or what you're doing.
I hope you're happy. I hope you read this and know that you were so special. I hope you never read this and you only remember me however you remember me. If you remember me.
It was just so surreal, looking at you, there in my basement. And I wish, I really, really wish, I had kept up with you. I wish we were still friends and I could call you and tell you about how things are right now. I wish that somewhere was another side of the line with you on it, to tell me that it's all good, I'm all good, I'm rocking this.
I'd like the chance to tell you too. That whatever you're up to, you're rocking it. Because you always did. Even when you thought you were terrible. I wonder now if I was half as good to you as you were to me and I'd like to make that up.