I saw your face again, reflecting from the strike plate in the doorframe; a flat slate of shining gold with your face engraved and brighter than I’d ever seen before. I sat up and squinted to make sure what I saw was real, though it probably was contrived and molded from my mind. It’s very telling that in my weakest moments, my mind constructs you and places you into my reality, into objects surrounding me. You always come when I’m in tears and I can’t see straight. You come to me in these images and flashes—face, hair, glasses, ball cap, words, voice, tears. I see your face in picture frames and now, doorframes, and I ask myself if it was always like this or if there was a time when you weren’t just a figment or fabrication. You’re just framed so carefully in my mind, this collection of fragments, it feels as though maybe I made you up; maybe I collected these pieces over time. Sometimes I can’t be sure this person was once real. Sometimes I can’t be sure that we had that at all.

When I was much younger and living in our home on Overbank I’d cry and while squinting, I’d look at the light in the hallway and I’d see stars. I’d do this while hearing you shout with her, fighting for something. Sometimes I’d see you and hear you through the hallway banister and it looked like you were held captive, away from me. But when I cry now I see you if only for an instant, or, like this time, for minutes, maybe more if I sat there long enough, holding onto a fragmented version of you stuck in a lock and plate. Crying makes it more real, somehow. Crying brings you to life, like watering plants. It freshens the experiences, the memories. I feel like sometimes, I’m crying for both of us. I feel like I’m holding both of our sadness and pain. I’m crying for you because you can’t anymore and we both have a lot of crying to do. Maybe I need to cry so much still because I’m holding the well of both our tears. I’m bringing the bucket down for more but it feels endless. It’s going to take a long time to empty.

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