A Compendium of Loss
You’ll forget the name of your first best friend. He was half-Greek, half-American, and 10 years old, but he spoke as if he already knew everything the world had to offer. He looked like a finished puzzle, colorful and complete. He told you that his mother was a psychic, and that she knew what other people were thinking, so you would try to stop thinking in her presence so that she could not hear you. Your name is Mark, but in her thick accent, she declared you “Muck.” You hardly went round to your best friend’s house because of her, and took him by the hand and went to play outside instead. You’d eat each other’s lunch underneath the maple tree and watch boys trade football cards and girls trade secrets. You’d do cartwheels across the grass until your elbows gave in and your knees bent backwards. You’d see who could hold their breath for the longest time both above and below water. You’ll lose these memories one day to make room for remembering recipes, addresses, and birthdays. Eventually, you will forget those, too.
You’ll wonder if you will pass him on the street and still recognize his face, the outline of his body, or the deep grooves that lined his forehead when he frowned. You will. You’ll bump into him on the tennis court and lose all six games of the set. You’ll stare at him, looking better in tennis shorts than you do, his legs like thunder. He’ll have no excess weight and no receding hairline, but you will notice that he has a tattoo on his forearm: the name of a man, the same name as your husband. You’ll say that you both must have great taste.