i remember you must have asked about my birthday a hundred times that first year. when was it? what was the date? and each time i sat in the silence following my response i could feel you attempting more alchemy than math as you worked the numbers in your head. you would ask again as though my answer might change--as though the difference between us might suddenly make sense. as if you might be able to line the numbers up just so to account for the space between--the years that seemed mighty when we were young, now meaning little.
i'm pretty sure you were trying more to account for a life you hadn't planned for. and so it wasn't really a question of numbers or ages or years or the dates of birthdays. it was a question and risk and reward and the great unknown.
i've always said i learn best by doing it wrong and i wonder if that's true for you too. if you had to look in the face of something right and good and choose instead what-had-long-been-planned-as-right-and-good--if we both had to fail in opposite directions for the alchemy to take hold.
i feel so far away from you now. as though we'll never speak again or meet again. as though i might wake tomorrow, my memory in tact, but for you--a different sort of rip van winkle slumber. but someone asked about you recently and before thought could catch up to feeling i said i'm in the eye of the storm. this is the calm.
but i don't know. it's been so long. maybe too long. and maybe too much has happened. and maybe all that will ever be is a stolen moment each october 4th remembering how often i uttered that date in response to all the questions you were afraid to ask.