Recorded Re:collections

February 9, 2011
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I fingered the photograph gingerly, caressing the edge as carefully as possible. I didn't want to ruin it. I didn't want to stain it with my fingerprints.

The fireplace roared in front of me, clothing me in its warmth. I hugged my knees tightly as the picture that was in my hand crashed down to the floor, rejoining the many others. So many faces, so many smiles, so many memories. Even if they burst into flames, I'd still sit here, unharmed, in the middle of my own muddled emotions.

Even without removing my glasses, my vision still blurred as I ran through my field of memories.

What is once dead doesn't return alive.

"It's a beautiful night isn't it?" he asked. His sultry voice pierced through the silence like a knife. It was almost haunting.

"Yeah, I think we should come here more often," I said. I placed my phone back into my bag and tilted my head until I could see his entire profile. His blue eyes stood out against the night sky. They shined like stars, stars that no being could ever reach.

"You know, it's a perfect make out spot too. You should come here with Ryan more often." I laughed and playfully shoved him.

"Then you should come here more often with Shirley. I bet you my life that she would enjoy it here. Besides, it's perfect for her art." I fingered the grass and smiled. "She would love it here." He nodded in agreement and smiled.

"She would love it here," he echoed. He turned his face toward my own and our gazes locked. His blue stars pierced into my own black holes. I blinked and turned away, no longer able to bear the intensity. A silence overcame us.

"You believe in fate Dri?"

I looked at him. His gaze was now concentrated on the black abyss above us. I turned and looked as well, searching for an answer. It wasn't there. I unconsciously reached for my necklace and fingered it before giving my answer.

He listened carefully as I stuttered through my own belief. When I finished, I was greeted with silence. I turned to look at him, to ask for his own thoughts, and our lips met.

It tasted like pure sin.

I brought my fingers up and brushed them gently across my lips. It had been months since that night, yet I could still feel his tenderness, his lingering warmth. The feelings from that night, I didn't know where they went or even where they came from. All I knew, was that sin never tasted so electrifying. It shocked me, launching impulses throughout my body. Thinking about it sent shivers up and down my spine. Despite the thrill, there was no emotion there. I knew that. I was sure of that.

The twinge of pain still fell down my pink cheeks.

I gasped as I saw the ring. It was stunning. Bright shining diamonds, surrounded by a translucent rainbow. Who could possibly say no?

"I'm so touched, but," I took a breather. "I can't accept it." I looked up into his blue starry eyes and smiled apologetically. He smacked me and I laughed, loudly.

"Come on, get real here. So what do you think?" He looked so happy. His eyes glowed with excitement, and his hands shook. I searched his eyes and found anxiety staring me straight in the face. I smiled, as brightly as I could.

" Shirley is going to love it." I returned the ring to him. "You two are going to be so happy together!"

I meant it.

As soon as the words left my mouth, I remember, being overcome with emotion.

He smiled at me after, and there was only one word to describe it: perfection. It was filled with love, happiness, and relief. There was something else there, something I couldn't quite put my finger on. What was it?

I stared blankly into nothingness. My gaze flickered from the flames to the pictures to the clock. Hours had passed since I last saw that ring, and I was still in the same spot, the same position. I twitched my legs, and they throbbed with pain. I hissed and readjusted myself.

I didn't want to do it. My feelings were still so unsettled, they fluttered from one side to another. I blinked continuously, attempting to clear my vision, my mind.

Perhaps it was easier to do than to think about. One toss, and I'd be reborn again. The physical evidence would be gone. The only thing left would be the faint dust that would soon be swept into the trash.

I'd begin anew, as a phoenix rises from the ashes. It wasn't hard.

If I didn't do it, then I'd be reminded of a disappearing future. They would lay on my desk, reminding me of an opportunity that never existed. On the bright side, I'd still have them. The physical evidence of what I knew I could have had. I would still be able to pick it up and smile and remember.

If I did do it, then they'd be gone. Forever. Forever was an awfully long time. But no longer would I feel bogged down. I wouldn't have to be reminded. I would finally be able to have new ones that would take the place of the old ones, and show me that the grass was greener on the other side. I would finally be able to see the present, not a faint dream.

I gathered the pictures up into my hands and flipped through them, slowly and lovingly. Each one of them included me and him. Random fun. Random smiles. Random hugs. It was a closeness that I could still have, but I could no longer dream. I could no longer make jokes, jokes that a part of me, a part of me buried under darkness, wanted to become reality.

"Imagine if we got married, we'd have the wackiest relationship in the world!"

Each picture, each flip, led to more questions.

"Hah, if I didn't know any better, I'd say we were the perfect match, right?"

Fantasies piled up into my mind and played themselves in front of my eyes. They played with music and sound, laughter and tears, smiles and frowns, just like a filmstrip. I bit my lip and slowly smiled.

"Sometimes I think we're bound by that red string of fate."

I was happy.

I moved closer to the fire, to the warmth that warmed me to the core. And then I threw them in.

The fire crackled and hissed. The pictures slowly burned. The flames hungrily moved toward the center, enveloping it all in a bright red inferno. I watched as the faces disappeared, until there was nothing left, but a dark pile of dust.

Regret doesn't come to mind when I think about it. Perhaps one day, it'll suddenly dawn on me: I miss them. I miss him. Laughing, smiling, and crying with him. I could still do it with him. It's not like he packed his bags and left, he was still here. He was still within driving distance.

But I could no longer reach him. He was in a place far from my grasp. I can't touch him now. I couldn't touch him before. All I lost was a chance that was never there. Even so, no matter what, I was still happy. Happy with my life. Happy with my choice.

I am happy.

The pictures are gone now. All I have to remember them now are the faint memories, still dancing in my mind. But memories can only be so reliable. They'll age, fade, and vanish with time. If those pictures hadn't burned, if I hadn't thrown them in, they'd still be in my hands today. I'd still be able to touch the glossy finish. I'd still be able to see the laughter and happiness, frozen in time.

"We'll always be best friends, no matter what."

I'd still feel the ache.

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