I dreamt of you last night and you were alive. I knew you were dead in some other realm or world or universe and I wondered whether to tell you and if so, how. But then I thought maybe I didn’t need to. You had reddish hair and blue eyes and a big smile of braces. You called me Bug Eyes but I felt that it was out of some sort of wayward affection. I called you Freckle Face. I loved you then and I love you now. My therapist says I dream about you because you represent ideal love and really, that childhood love is stronger than anything I feel today.
I thought you were perfect and you smelled wonderful and I still remember you wore Michael Jordan cologne. I received a set of colored pens for Christmas and I let you borrow the orange one for some time as it was your favorite color. And when you gave it back to me, I smelled it secretly for days because it smelled like you.
I remember you loved rap music so much and I went out and bought DMX’s CD so I could be closer to you in this way, as well. We were in sixth grade in white suburbia so what did we know then about the pain behind those lyrics, but in the end, you wound up with the same demons and you overdosed three years before he did.
On one of the last days of eighth grade, I brought an instant camera to school and took photographs with my friends. I managed to capture you in one of the photographs, mid-smile. I treasured that photograph once I had it developed and I am certain I still have it in a photo album in my childhood bedroom somewhere.
I still think of you and I wonder what could have been if I had reached out to you years after, when I wanted to write you to congratulate you on your sobriety and to wish you luck and strength. We are all only one step from our own destruction, aren’t we, and I felt that I knew so well the paths you trod to get to where you were. There was so little that separated you from me. And I wanted to let you know that and I didn’t and it’s too late now, anyhow.
Words by Mina Djuric.
Image by Federica Putelli & Enrica Lamonaca for DSCENE Magazine
Originally published in DSCENE Love Issue.