This morning, as with all other mornings, I woke to the third alarm and began browsing the messages, photos, reminders, and emails that awaited me. They all waited patiently while I ticked each item from my early morning check list. They all waited while I browsed my own photos, looking for a very specific one — and there, among the images was you.

I took this photo of you on our last day. You sat across the table from me, reading your book while I read mine. You barely looked up, you didn’t notice me watching you. You didn’t notice me sneak a photo of you, and I didn’t notice the detachment that hung in your eyes when you finally did look up. I mistook that feigned smile for a grimace at the sunlight in your eyes. I mistook this moment, our last “good” hour before it all fell apart, as just another hour.

So when I found that photo this morning, I saw it. I saw you for where you were. I saw you for the talk you knew we were about to have. I saw you for what we were going to become.

And it hit me like a ton of bricks.


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