I look at the pictures on her walls, paintings of peaceful vistas and lonesome shorelines, and all I can think of is to try and convince her of what I still know. “I saw you once. It was sophomore year. Early sophomore year. I guess you didn’t have eighth hour back then, but it had just rained, and I was waiting for the bell to ring, you know? Bored, the sky that weird gray, sunshine but no blue, and I just wanted to go home.”
She picks at her thumbnail.
I keep my eyes on the landscapes while I talk. “And I looked out the window, and I saw you. You were walking across the football field in your uniform, and you’d taken your shoes off—and you were taking your time, kicking up water with your toes. I could see little splashes of it. You would spin around now and then. You were looking up at the sky, and in the glass I’d lose you in the sun. You know, where the sun flared up in the glass? And you’d step out of the light, kicking water, in your skirt, looking really distracted. And it wasn’t that you were beautiful—you were, but it wasn’t that.” All my stored years coagulate into language, and I believe she can yet be reclaimed. “I remember thinking that I knew what was distracting you. You know? Even though I couldn’t name it, or put words to it, I had this sense, this real calm feeling, and I used to be pretty nervous, I guess, but a feeling—like the world was a good place, because I could see it with your eyes.”