I watch the snow come swirling down, and, as I watch, I think and I remember.
I remember you, Bubs.
I remember everything we did together. I’m not ever going to forget.
It was snowing the day you died.
Do you remember?
It was snowing the day we met.
Do you remember?
I know I do.
Right now, I’m replaying that day, 23 years ago, 7th January. I remember you walking, you slipping, you smiling.
Me, smiling back.
Me, waving, then walking.
Your cheeks started to redden. At the time, I hoped it was happiness, but now, when remembering, I fear it was more embarrassment than anything else.
I didn’t mind.
I hoped you didn’t either.
Eventually I reached you, offered my hand out, which you, then, gladly took. Your glove was wet, its waters soaking into mine, slowly chilling my hand. You stood up, then straightened my hat, which the wind had blown to the side.
Afterwards, I smiled.
You smiled back.
A moment that was meant to last a lifetime. But, how long is a lifetime?
I wished time could have frozen, like the world around us, at that moment. Selfish, I know, but what a perfect moment that was.
“Do you want a coffee?” you said. I didn’t reply, just simply took your arm, and led you off to the small coffee shop on the corner of the road.
I did visit there, a few times after you died. But then I stopped. The memories were so happy, yet so sad. I remember crying. Then leaving.
Then never going back.
But, that first time, we went together, both slightly damp, but our cheeks flushed like it was the middle of summer, we ordered the same drink: hot chocolate, with hazelnuts and cream. I was gently surprised that you liked it, it wasn’t the most popular item, but it just made me like you more, then love you more.
We ordered different food though.
You ordered a slice of the chocolate gateau. You really loved chocolate. Anything sweet, and you would try it.
I ordered a carrot cake. You said you had never tried it so I let you take it fork full.
But you said “Nah, too healthy for me, chocolate all the way.” You took a big mouthful- too big- and you smeared cream and cake onto your chin.
I loved it.
I laughed, I took a napkin, and wiped your face. It was like we had known each other for years, not minutes.
We talked about nothing that mattered, yet everything we could think of.
I learnt so much about you.
You learn so much about me.
I never forgot one thing you told me.
I remember your favourite colour was green, but not the green of the table cloth, the green of the trees in the heart of summer, at the peak of their life, when the green has just one unbroken surface that fills parks, and gardens, and roads, with an undying colour.
I remember your favourite subject at school was art, because your teacher was amazing. You said his name was Mr Harburt, and he was old, not grey hair and wrinkles old, but old in the soul, with so much experience and so many layers to unpeel. He was kind, and funny, but he could also be grumpy. Sounds kind of like you!
I remember your favourite animal was a cat, because of their own free will. They did what they wanted, and you loved that. You always believed in free will, and you made me believe in it too.
I have a cat now. It’s a lovely little tomcat, called Cat Morgan, after that book of poems you loved so much.
You always wanted a cat so much. We never got round to it. I wish we had. But we ran out of time.
When we finished our hot chocolates and carrot cake and chocolate gateau, we left, but walked, walked all the way up to the peak of the hill, where we looked over the town, where the lights were just starting to flicker on, where the cars were just starting to pull into driveways.
We stood there for a while.
Me, on the left.
You, on the right.
Both of us, together, in silence, because all our words were spoken.
The one thing I don’t remember is how long we stood there for.
Do you remember?
It could have been hours, or minutes. I remember us, still in our soggy coats.
They had just started to become dry again, when the snow started again.
Small, small flakes, slowly drifting down, settling on my coat, on your coat, but not our faces. That melted immediately, eventually covering our faces in a thin sheen of water, which the moonlight started to reflect.
Still, no words were spoken.
Not for a while.
Not until I kissed you on the cheek.
Your smile widened and it reached your eyes and your soul and I was sure I was smiling too. You just looked at me and said: “Thank you.”
Then we went back to silence.
We watched the stars, until we couldn’t feel our fingers.
We walked back to town together.
I kissed you again, on the cheek.
And, you face lit up, and I felt like everything was going to be okay.
You, being the gentleman you were, and always will be, walked me back to mine.
When we arrived at mine, you smiled.
We looked at each other.
And I couldn’t imagine anyone else I would love to love as much as you.
I waved and then you waved.
I carried on waving, even when your back was turned and you were walking away. I didn’t stop, even when you were only a speck in the distance. I didn’t stop, not until you had turned the corner.
I remember all that.
Do you remember?
I step outside, gingerly, one foot in front of the other, quietly taking in the surroundings,
The apple tree, that has no apples, but a thin layer of snow.
The flowerbed, that underneath the snow has a world of life, just waiting to poke its head up.
The lawn, which is just a bit too long, but it’s been too wet to mow properly.
The snow is still falling. I look up at the sky, trying to see where the snow is falling from, trying to see the clouds, trying to see a small gap in the sky, which leads to you.
And, I wonder, if you are looking down on the snow, I am looking up on.