I’ve started to see you in the most mundane things.
The curve of your spine matches the iron fence outside of the building. Raindrops cling to the window in the same patterns that the shower water lingered on your shoulder. The crystalline vase I keep, perpetually empty, on the mantle is the precise green of your eyes.
Of course, your eyes are livelier.
The scratches from when we bought that piano and tried to move it ourselves remain on the hardwood floor of the hallway. I still never chew spearmint, though it used to be my favorite.
I was told that your absence would not be so vibrant as my life carried on. Quinn told me, one night at the cafe, “Eventually he will sink into the walls and the furniture, and become a trace of life instead of a ghost. A gust of wind through chimes. A picture kept in a box.”
I thanked him, sincerely, for his concern, and for such attentive kindness, and in turn he only ever spoke of your memory.
When I say I’m fine, I’m met with looks of sadness, of concern.
"I know he’s with me, always," I said, smiling, at the first Chanukah dinner without you. My mom told my dad I’m in denial. My dad turned the page of his book and said, "She’s coping."
People aren’t quite sure what to do, after all this time.
Your family remains uncertain of how to act around me. They invite me to join them for holiday meals, as they know you would have done. Keeping me in their lives is a way of keeping you alive. I know that it means more to them to find who took them away from you than it does to make sure that I’m doing okay. But still, they go about the motions. In your honor.
I am ever thankful for that. I would have missed them.
Oliver, I miss the heat of your skin, and the rise and fall of your breaths. I wish there would have been a way to keep all of you. But sacrifices had to be made.
I found a way of preserving your eyes so that they never fade. That’s my way of preserving your memory.
It’s suiting me just fine.