In my memories, you both are almost always smiling.
Did you really smile that much?
Or have my memories already become
If it is that my memory is in error, perhaps it is not entirely an evil thing,
for maybe the remembrance of you both is finally becoming what it should be—
a source of strength.
Or perhaps your smiles are what I most fear losing to forgetfulness (and anger, and grief). But oh! I want to remember every emotion I saw cross your faces, every piece of yourselves I got to see.
But perhaps you both really smiled that much.
I know there were times you were too sad to deal with the world,
but neither of you liked showing that aspect of yourselves.
At least, not to me.
(Ben, I’m pretty sure for you, at least, it was that you never liked anyone at all to see that.)
I remember moments where you didn’t smile of course. Moments you were too sad to. But those are far, far outweighed by images of humor and mischief and joy.
Perhaps it was because you were together, most every time I saw either of you.
Indeed, I know that was part of it.
For I got to know you both equally,
and saw the change in each of you when you were with each other.
You were the sun and moon respectively and both of you glowed.
You brought out the best in each other.
I feel privileged that I got to see your meeting,
and the growing of your mutual love.
I’m finally to a point where a day sometimes passes that I don’t think of you,
but the vast majority of days you both cross my mind at least once.
I know some of what you both went through. I wish I could have helped you more.
But thank you for sharing with me so many of your smiles.
For because my memories of you are filled with them
(and with listening, and with kindness),
when I think of you, you bring me joy,
even though it is still very, very painful.
I truly believe, with what optimism I have, that the two of you are together,
wherever you are,
and that because you’re together, you’re both still smiling.
(At least, this is the only possibility I will accept.)
But still, please do not ask me to smile yet,
for my heart is still too raw.
I am a writer. Always have been, always will be.
The theme of “immortalizing” people through art of all kinds
has been prevalent for centuries.
So while my attempts will never be enough,
only a faint shadow of what was,
I will do what I can.
For too many good people die young, and the world still has great need of them—
still has need of the two of you.