The river.

Grassington. Stones strewn across the hillside like a lazy monument to those best forgotten. He stands by a stile, smiling, my indomitable brother. Through a forest, a path carved aggressively, gravel lined an awkward wound through the foliage. The canopy thick, so green I can’t remember anything else. I’m startled by the river, just the sound evokes something unreachable in me, something I can barely describe.

I should look back with fondness, or some wistful nostalgia, but the pain is unbearable. Casting stones into a river, there is an aqueduct in the distance. I am ruined. This is the end of me.

We sit there forever. Perhaps I never left.

Sometimes, I would like to swim.

I had a thought of skimming stones as we lay in bed, our lives disintegrating around us. I’m sure you were talking, saying something meaningful, but all I could remember was Carey pissing into the river as Nathan and I tried to reach the other side.

In that moment, I was another me, unharmed. To forget, to give back this transcript of my failure, my weakness and failing resolve, to have this skin renewed, replaced with flesh unscathed by the shame of my convictions.

Memory is a reconstruction. A rebuilding of an event, an impression, of someone we’d left behind. Sometimes, I wish it could be the same, but it’s always different. We’re lost, and the route keeps changing, no matter how many times I try to remember, I might never find the path back home.

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