I carry this with me.
Every waking moment. Every chilling nightmare. Every occasional pleasant dream. It’s a weight in my pocket, a memory of “I love you” and “Don’t forget.” A memory of “I’ll come for you.”
A memory of all those lies.
I like to think if I could only let it go, I’d be free of this burning hatred, free of the ache left in the chasm carved by loss and betrayal. But I hold onto this crumpled, faded, torn photograph because letting go would make me forget those final memories, and I would lose the most important piece of myself.
It is a physical manifestation of an emotional scar, and I hold it when I miss you, to remind myself I’m a fool for thinking such thoughts. I hold it when I hate you, to remind myself how warm your smile was when you loved me. I hold it to remember when everything else has faded away. I hold it when I need to remind myself I can only move forward from here; there’s no going back to this golden moment trapped in a four-inch-by-six-inch rectangle.
My mind isn’t safe to store memories, but here in my hands, this one can never be erased. It’s a curse, but I carry this with me. Every waking moment. Every chilling nightmare. Every occasional pleasant dream. Because no matter how many tears roll down the glossy surface or curses escape from under my tongue, I can’t let you go, even though I don’t love you, I have forgotten, and you never came for me like you promised.