Could I fill a small box with all the memories I have of you? If I turned each one into an object, would there be enough to take up all the space?
The first item I would put in the box: a cat charm that looks like Rascal, the gray cat that I loved. The one that retreated from my advances, refusing to cuddle with me, but would jump into your lap without you asking. You had similar eyes. After all, they did call you “el gato” when you were young.
A red Marlboro cigarette case. For the smoke that unfurled from your hand as you sat out on the porch and looked on the street. I remember sitting behind the metal door, inside, watching you.
A silver key chain. The one you used to hook your keys onto your pants. It jingled each time you walked, threatening to fall off when you would do a goofy dance. I would always hear it before I saw you. I remember its metal smell each time I would hand the keys to you.
Aviator sunglasses. Like the ones you left behind. They would leave marks on either side of the bridge of your nose. I would watch you take them off and rub your nose. And your forehead. I never knew what you were thinking when you did.
A piece of glass. From the window where my siblings told me to run to after I saw you for the last time before you died. “Go to the window,” they said. You died while I was in the parking lot. Everyone was waiting for me when I got home.
There’s one thing that would take up the entire space of the box: a giant plush toy dog. It was white with spots of brown. I remember its floppy ears. I remember it lying on the couch, a gift from my uncle for my birthday. No plush toy could be big enough, no toy special enough for my 12-year-old heart to fill the void you left. Nothing could be cute enough to heal the pain.
I remember that anger like it was yesterday. I hang onto the strings of memories, as bittersweet as it might feel. I remember the laughter we shared even if I can’t remember the feeling of hugging you. I’ll always unpack those memories, remember what I’ve lost. But I’ll always come back to the idea that I’m lucky to have any memories at all. Remembering hurts but it’s all I’ve got.
Written by Eva Recinos.
Eva is the social media manager at HelloGiggles and a freelance writer for outlets like LA Weekly and The Creators Project. She is less than five feet tall. Follow her on Twitter at @eva_recinos and Instagram at @little_little_eva.