On Seeing His Photographs (Every Now And Then)

I look at his photographs every now and then. Some of him alone, his eyes looking at the camera, a somewhat serious expression on his face; some of him with his new friends, his eyes crinkling with fun that I wouldn’t know; some of him with his new love (or old love? first love? everlasting love?), the end of his lips showing the smallest trace of a smile. Endless photographs that all look new to me; photographs without me in it.

Sometimes I think I’m becoming quite a masochist for doing this to myself. Why do I continue to look at his face, when the mere thought of him would send a small ache in my chest—a small, teeny, tiny ache, but an ache nonetheless—that I would sometimes forget how to breathe? Why do I keep doing such things, if all it would ever do is force me back into my 13-, 14-, 15-year-old self, back to a time when he mattered and very little of anything else?

It seems stupid to carry on with this little habit, but I still do. I look at his pictures every now and then, perhaps to remind me that once upon a time, I liked him—a lot—to a point that I would pray and cry for him to be mine, mine, mine, that I would cherish even the pen he used (a black PaperMate), take note of his favorite player in some sport (Green, #5, the geeky-looking one), and even remember all these tiny little details about him to the point of obsession (that he ruffles his hair every so often, that his dimples show even with the slightest smile, that his handwriting is a little chubby, just like him).

Obsession. Yes, that just might be it. I don’t think I ever loved him—I just thought I did. It was never about love; I hardly ever even knew him. He had a lot of faults and I noticed much of his, but aside from what I saw on the surface, I didn’t know him any better than everyone else. Perhaps I liked the image of him that I had in mind, but in reality I might have hated him. For not being like what I imagined him to be. For being ahead when (I think) I was smarter than him. For not noticing me, when all the while I took constant notice of him.

But still I look at his photographs. Every now and then, no matter how much I try not to. I still look at his photographs.

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