sometimes my mind grabs for you, trying to remember, trying to believe that you were real, that you were ever here with me in flesh and bone and blood. and when i get still and quiet and think about you I see your eyes, big and dark with heavy eye makeup that made you look like a movie star every day, the way you pushed your eye brows up with your fingertips when you were tired, smoothing the tiny little hairs back into place. you had unruly eyebrows that grew downward instead of upward, which was against the rules. i don’t even know if you were aware when you were doing it, that small adjustment. but i saw all of it. i saw you. i studied you, your face, your makeup artistry, your hair, the way you always wore fancy shoes and pretty clothes. when i think of you, i can see the amber brown of your eyes piercing me, holding my gaze, freezing me in uncertainty – what were you thinking? what was your reaction to what I just said? you had the best poker face of all time. i never knew what was behind your eyes if you didn’t want me to. but i never stopped searching them, even in the end when there were no words left, when your mouth wouldn’t obey your brain and you turned your face and looked at me, your mouth moving in silent response to me. and in that moment i believe you saw me, that you saw the amber of my eyes locking with yours, and that you heard my voice saying, it’s gonna be ok, it’s ok, I’m here. i don’t know if i was lying.

i remember your gaze, your leaning-in-to-hear-me self. i remember in the last years when the morphine stole your secrecy, and you began to talk to me. i didn’t have to ask you what you thought of what i said anymore.

today my mind grabs for you, to remember that you were real, that you whispered little girl secrets to me under the blankets when we were supposed to be sleeping, that you held my tiny hands in your bigger hangs and counted one – two – three and flipped me like the dancers on solid gold. I remember you falling off the swing and bruising your tailbone, sequestering you to the couch, and me banging like a wild thing on the back door making you get up too fast, forgetting you were hurt. You were so mad, I was so little. That seems to be the theme of our young lives. And then our older lives.

today my mind grabs for you, and i find you there, close to me telling me not to worry about what the mean kids say, that they don’t count, that they aren’t worth it, to not give myself away to people who don’t deserve me. and i heard you, and i hear you still. and i love you.

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