Sticky notes littered his bedroom wall. Yellow, green, blue, and the hot pink that used to be yours. He kept a pen in his pocket, a black ball point, and a notepad in the other one.
He forgot a lot of things.
Simple things, like what he ate for breakfast, and important things too, like doctor appointments.
He remembered the day you two met though.
One of the only long-term things he remembered.
He didn’t remember what you were wearing or the place, but he remembered the feelings. The scramble of getting your number on his phone because he was afraid that if he wrote it in his notepad, he’d forget about it until next year.
You had laughed at his haste, but complied, writing in Someone for the name.
He texted you to make sure it was right, and you parted ways soon after.
He never changed your contact name.
He forgot to turn his alarm on that night, forgot to feed his tiny fish, forgot to take out the trash.
But he remembered to text you good night.
Your love was fast.
He didn’t forget you.
Sometimes he’d forget why he was feeling so giddy, why his heartbeat was acting up. But then he’d look down and see he was talking with you.
You were always patient with him. Always.
Sometimes you’d ask him a question and he’d blank out and ask you to say it again. You knew the whole conversation was out of his head by then. He’d write down his favorite parts though.
You moved from texting to calling in summer. He’d put you on speaker and sit low on his couch, writing down the important things, things you might bring up later.
You moved to facetime in the fall. He sat in the seat in front of his window, the orange and red leaves serving as a beautiful background. He didn’t want you to see his sticky notes, and they were everywhere else.
In the winter, you started seeing more face to face. In coffee shops, bookstores, libraries, wherever you could meet. Before you’d part, he’d read you a poem he’d written every single time. You’d touch foreheads and then leave. It was a sweet little routine.
His memory grew worse. He forgot to eat sometimes, set on the fact that he must’ve eaten earlier. Even when he remembered, his fridge was mostly empty, since he forgot to shop for groceries.
You moved in when sweater weather was over. You didn’t have much. Two boxes filled with clothes, and one with your other things, like your lotion collection and stationary. You didn’t have to go out to meet each other anymore, you were in the same house.
He often sat cross-legged on the couch, with a blank expression, and you’d join him, laying your head on his shoulder.
About the sticky notes, you said nothing, only sometimes you added on. You added ‘I love you’ and ‘Smile’ amongst the ‘Brush your teeth’ and ‘Feed the fish’.
When he ran out of poems, you’d tell him ideas of what you could do together.
You tried hiking together, but he tripped on a rock, earning a scar running along his arm.
You had blown on it, kissed it ever so softly, your eyes clouding with worry. He didn’t like blood, didn’t like the way it dripped bright red against his pale skin.
He only wore long-sleeved sweaters after that. Rarely let you drag him out. The only times he did was to see you smile. To watch your dimples come and go.
You loved getting ready, wearing fancy clothes, and painting your makeup like a masterpiece. You had only come with two boxes but by that summer you had over a closet-full of clothes.
He forgot to rinse his plate, forgot to brush his teeth, forgot to buy new glasses, but he remembered what you liked, remembered to get you something if he was ever out alone.
You memorized his face, every freckle, every crease. He memorized your laugh and your soft touch.
The scar stayed, a red line reminding him not to go out. One of the only things he didn’t really need reminding on.
If he was feeling okay, then you would spend the day talking. About everything and nothing, and all the in betweens. About politics and animals and sometimes the sticky notes.
While you spoke, he didn’t keep the notepad near him. He started to be afraid to lose the authenticity of just hearing your voice. If he wrote it down, he would miss the light in your eyes and smirk in your smile.
He bought the ring very suddenly. It was early morning, and you were still asleep, tangled in the covers. The night before had been a talking night. His hair was starting to grow long, and you told him to cut it. He had put it in a ponytail and said he liked it that way, though you probably still remember.
Deep down, he does too.
The ring was simple, in case he would forget where he put it and lose it.
You always loved christmas. Green and red were your favorite colors at the time. Weeks earlier, you had bought a tree and ornaments. An angel for the top.
The first time he asked it was morning. The golden light was still barely peeking in through the white curtains, the birds were still stretching. He had grabbed your hand as you poured your bitter coffee and slipped the ring on your finger. He was short for words so you kissed him instead, the taste of mint evident because he finally remembered to brush his teeth.
You were going to go and see the big tree in the city. It was only out the 24th and 25th and you wanted to go both days. It was the one time you didn’t need to persuade him.
You took the ring off to shower.
After you were almost ready, you saw him with the ring in his hand, a blank expression that you knew so well plain on his face.
He actually asked that time, his words tumbling out in a jumbled mess. Nothing like the poet he was.
The third time was the worst. He had stopped you as you were walking, getting ready to ice skate. He looked sad, and his pale skin was paler than usual. You had caressed his cheek and pressed foreheads like you used to and you continued to pick up your skates.
The fourth time was on the ice. You were the one who fell for once, and as he caught you, he whispered the question in your ear. It was the most romantic one in your eyes. You wished it wasn’t ruined by your brain yelling at you that he was sick. That he probably wouldn’t remember later, that he might just forget you later.
The fifth time was when you were back at home, untangling your hair from the unnecessary amount of bobby pins it had suffered through. You had cried softly into your pillow that night.
It was supposed to be perfect, but life disagreed. He had apologized in the morning, and when you tried to wave it off, he told you he heard you crying. Half of his sticky note wall came down that day.
He was so tired of forgetting.
He wanted to love you with all his heart, mind, and soul, but he was busy trying to make sure to keep himself alive.
And his fish.
But it was both of your fish then, and you made sure to remind him it was okay, that you still loved him.
The bad days were still there.
But so were the good days.
So were the good days.