I look at photos of us often. Unabashedly, I don’t try to stop myself. I think it makes me happy, looking at us, holding each other, smiling in the sun, on top of mountains, surrounded by green.
It reminds me of your face and body. That you’re a person with a beard, and you exist. That you’re not just some concept, a thing everyone in my life is nervously watching me for signs for, expecting me to mourn.
You’re a person, I think. I think you’re real. Every so often I get lucky, and I catch a glimpse of you inside a photo. Your voice or laughter or mind or gait peaks through, and I remember who you are, at the other side of an emptied, blank text thread. Something swings out of my gut, reaching out to the sadness, trying to connect and place itself.