When I think of him, I don’t remember him as the violent person he grew to be, or how we all became afraid of. I don’t remember how he used to call me names. I don’t remember how he ignored me when, one day, I asked him to defend me of some bullies at school.
I don’t remember him mocking me because he was older and ahead in school. Nor his vague explanations when my parents found white powder in his wallet. I don’t remember his anger nor his threats.
When I think of him, I remember him as a sleepy kid, letting me into his bed late one winter night after I woke him up, snuggling me and whispering into my ear so that I wouldn’t be scared of the thundering storm outside.
The blurred silhouettes gradually take form as you wipe out the fogged up window.
A dim light in this old, lone house in the mountains, pitiable in its fight against the darkness that settled shortly after the sun set, timidly illuminates the two forlorn figures standing by the door, about to be swallowed up by the shadows that engulf everything. They are looking at you, smiling and mouthing inaudible words, words that dissolve into the night almost as soon as they are pronounced.
Suddenly, the engine of the car starts, the lights illuminate the immediate promise of the road to follow before melting away in the daunting obscurity that lies just a few hundred feet away.
You turn back and see the figures waving goodbye. As the car speeds up into the night, you wave back while seeing the house recede into the distance until it finally disappears.
You stare at the blackness behind you, longing for what you have left out in the night. And then you slowly turn away, grateful for your memories, while you look at the road unfolding just in front of you.