"It was your eyes." I say finally. "They are the only things that haven’t changed."
And it’s true, too. You stand a head taller than the last time I saw you. It feels so strange to be looking up into your eyes instead of down. You never wore your hair long before. Now it hangs around your face, hiding your gaunt cheeks. Your forehead is creased in permanent wrinkles I do not remember. There is a card I once wrote you that sits, unsent, in the back of some drawer. On it is a picture of a forked road with a person walking down one of the paths. There is a sign with two arrows. One points to the road with the person and reads: Your Life. The other points down the other road and reads: No Longer an Option. So is this it? Is this really the path you have chosen? You look at me again, and ask what I remember.
"I remember you, Colin, my brown-eyed boy. Wrestling you into a headlock (because you only came up to my shoulder). You teased me something fierce and my height was my only weapon. Don’t you remember?" You shake your head sadly, but not for the sake of missing memories.
"What about the dunes, you must remember the dunes?" I try to hide the pleading in my voice.
"Only that we went. And we snuck out that night to climb them, didn’t we? Then everyone had to come." You laugh softly, proudly. "But we were the first."
"Yeah, we were the shit back then-you the little brat, listening at tent doors, and me the girl who wouldn’t scream. Remember the stars that night? There was no moon and the stars were blazing fires. When the others heard we actually went all the way to the dunes they had to come. Remember the bridge? Our footsteps echoing back, we thought we were being followed! We nearly had Nathan peeing in his pants with talk of stalkers and bears, when we came across raccoon prints. We stayed up there all night. Huddled on top of the dunes and trying not to be the first to say we were too cold. We made it, though. Even Nathan. That's the one and only time he impressed me. So we stayed all night. At ten years old we pulled our first all-nighter. Unfortunately the clouds had piled up and we couldn’t see the sunrise. But that didn’t quench the pride we felt as we snuck back to our tents.
"That was a long time ago." You say. "What good is there in remembering?" What does it do for you now?"
"What harm is there in remembering?" I counter. "Seeing you brings it all back." I lean into my words, you caste your eyes aside.
"Why my eyes?" You cannot resist the question, tugging at you. I reply slowly, squeezing out your hesitance, trying to remember if this, too, is a secret.
And there I am a memory.