My sister was looking through some photos at my grandmother’s house, and she found a picture of me and a girl I quasi-dated for five years. I didn’t even know that this photo existed. I think my grandmother was taking pictures of my sister on the night of her homecoming dance, and my kind-of girlfriend and I just happened to be around. (I realize now that this was almost exactly nine years ago~)

It was strange as hell to see. We were around each other so often and for so long, and yet there are very few pictures of us together. What’s more is that in the photo we even have our arms around each other. Whoa! It kind of freaks me out to see that, though maybe that’s because I’m me, and that picture doesn’t really seem like me at all. I look at him and I think: “Baby, what are you doing!”

Well—back then it was OK. I mean, it really was OK. And if I were going to put my arm around anyone, I reckon she’s the person I would put my arm around. I have not really had a 100% fully natural inclination to touch someone that way since.

She was real cool. I dream about her all the time. I don’t mean to or anything—she just slips in there. Usually we’re doing two of my favorite things, both of which we did a lot together, which was to walk around at night and to talk in bed. Yeah. Those are pretty good dreams. I wish I could still do those things with her. (Maybe I wish that more than anything else. . . !!)

In the photo, she’s wearing a T-shirt I gave her for her birthday, and her hair is bright red because she had just dyed it. Were I a ghost who could perceive the dimension of time, I would sail through the ether to that precise moment, and I would say to the two friends there, one of whom used to be me: “Make it last, you fools. I don’t know how, but for God’s sake, please find a way.”