I slipped into bed just after 2:00 a.m., weary from the day's traumas, the deaths, the constant need for my black humor, the buoy that keeps our terrible little boat on its course. The sheets were warm, as always, and sweet-smelling from your body. Mostly asleep, you said, Hey, babe. How was work?
Awful, I said. And September is over. It's gone. I never even realized it was going. Where did it go?
You didn't know what to say to that. You mumbled something into your pillow.
Life is going by too fast, I said.
The door to another apartment opened, the teacher downstairs letting her cat in or out. The change in air pressure rocked our blinds, clattered them gently against the window pane, a lonely, fast sound.
Don't worry, you said.
I'm not worried. I'm just disappointed. My life is just passing by me. Our life. I want to live forever.
Babe, you said. You can't.
I pulled the quilt up to my chin and shivered. I couldn't tell you, asleep as you were, that what I wanted was forever with you, forever getting into this bed and feeling your welcoming heat, forever knowing I would always be able to draw the scent of your skin out of your side, that it would always be replenished. There will come a day when one of us leaves the other, I know it. It will probably be you who leaves first. Statistically. Scientifically. Damn my skeptical mind. Fuck my inability to suspend disbelief, to even imagine an eternity with you. What good is it, to be so rational? October settling all over me. Sweater weather. The tail end of a too-brief year, petering out into a dark winter, the way my life will stumble to a close one day, too soon, years without you. But not, I hope, decades.
Well, I want to. I want us to live forever, you and me. I want to remember everything.
You rolled over in the blue darkness to gather me into your arms, smiling at my small, unimportant wretchedness. The color blue flashed off your teeth, off those big beautiful teeth you hate so much but which are the happiest sight in the world to me. I made a concession to inevitability: I'm just going to remember one amazing thing every day, I said. I'm not going to let a single day go by without making some good memory, somewhere.
Okay, you said. That's a good plan. Now go to sleep.
I'm not good at this yet. I've tried for four days, but the thing that's stayed with me is that exact shade of blue shining in your big, unlovely, perfect mouth. It's hard for any single moment in my ordinary life to compete with something so distinct and beautiful.