Standing in the sunlight, laughing

Why is it always so bittersweet to remember things? I can’t watch old home videos without being miserable, because I’m happy there and I’m happy remembering… but I’m sad thinking that time’s passed. My grandpa’s not here anymore, but he’s there, and laughing; my cousins are all living with their parents in those movies, not off in different cities, some, different states, living their own lives… not that that’s a bad thing. My parents are younger, healthier.

As for me? In those old movies, I have big choices to make, still. I can save the hard decisions and the bad decisions for another day, because in those movies I’m content to live in my small bubble: one that consists of bickering and playing with my baby sister and romps in the backyard with my favorite yellow dog. It’s a perfect thirty minutes of childhood, preserved for anyone who wants to watch.

That’s why it hurts to remember. I can sit here and remember happiness felt this past summertime and just want to cry. Sunlight and green things, and iced coffee with lots of chocolate and extra ice; movies and pool nights, the Happening and farm work and guide rail. I had decisions to make, then, too– but they were a little more complicated than an eight-year-old me sitting on the floor unwrapping birthday presents in the living room.

I wonder, if I had decided to press the issue with him, if I’d be this miserable now. If I’d chosen potential over years of friendship… If I had said, “I think I’m in love with you,” when I thought I did, would we still be fighting? And, fighting over what, exactly– that I lost my temper? that I was sad and tired and stressed? that I was stretched thin to brittle, and closed to shattering?

Is that what this is about? That I was rude? That I’m a terrible friend? I thought you knew me better than that.

And what about all of that “I hate it when my friends change themselves” crap I heard for almost a year? What happens when you change? What then? Do I get to sit here and hate it, like you did? Or am I expected to just roll with it and accept that when I need you, you can’t be there for me like I need you to be, because you’re changing– into someone who has friends who are less serious than I am, more fun, with less to do and less at stake… I’m sorry I’m not spontaneous and fun anymore. I have to focus. I have to. I’m sorry.

This is why it hurts to remember. It’s one thing to remember the man you knew in the summertime, but in the cold winter daylight when things aren’t as perfect, you have to face the boy he decided he was, and any frost that comes along.

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