I have to be honest with you. The last thing I wrote here is the beginning. The reason is that I wanted to go step by step forward in time, and as I reviewed the memories I have of you, I seared that moment in my mind. Each memory is punctuated by an object, and each object is something that I seared into my memory. I wrote the beginning last, because I wanted to make sure that I remembered everything about you.
My first vivid memory of you was when one night we had stayed late at the office and I asked you if I wanted to have some dinner. We went to a local Chinese restaurant and you ordered empress noodles. That was first time I had ever heard of empress noodles. They were the thinnest noodles I have ever seen and to this day, that’s what I order from that place. You see, that was the first time when we talked for hours and hours on end. We talked about everything over a pile of thin noodles.
On Valentine’s day the office boys usually plan something for the girls in the office. We had bought single stemmed roses and we planned to put them on their tables, along with one piece of some cheap chocolate we had got from 7/11. I volunteered to write individual messages for each girl, each asking the answer to the question “Why do we love you?” and we would put them on Post Its that we would put on your monitors. I had written forty three messages that day and the only reason I did it was so I could write one for you. I wrote “Because you smile like the Sunshine!” It was the truest thing I ever wrote. You did smile like the sunshine. The room lit up when you were there. There was something about you that made everyone feel better about ourselves. That Post-It is the sum total of all my writing skill distilled into one single message.
It was your birthday in April and you had told me that it was the saddest birthday you ever had. It was your first birthday where you were stuck working in the office. We had clocked out at 9 pm back then and to celebrate your birthday, we went to a nearby bar. We were talking over a couple of beers and you told me to listen to the background music. They were playing Written in Reverse by Tiesto. The song was all about writing a love story in reverse, so that pain would turn to healing. You told me that you wanted something like that. I drove you home that night and that song was on repeat in my head. I wanted to reverse your birthday to make it a happier one. One where you weren’t crying.
Another memory I have is when you had asked me to buy a Lego Stormtrooper key chain. It had these LED lights attached to its feet and it would light whenever you pressed its chest. I promised that I would give it you when we saw each other again. Every day I would carry it in my bag and I would wait in trepidation just in case you asked me to meet up with you. You see, the only reason I bought that thing was to have an excuse to see you again. I wanted you to have something that reminded you of me. It never happened. I did not know you had started avoiding me back then, that you did not want to see me anymore. I dropped off the keychain at your house and I did not even know what went wrong between us.
The last memory of you that I have was on the rooftop of a building on Shaw Boulevard. It was a full three months since I had seen you and you had changed so much. Your hair was different. You wore new glasses. You surprised everyone when you took out a pack of Chesterfields and asked for a light. I stared at the cigarette you held casually in your hand. The lit cigarette you held in your hand was burning a hole in my heart. We used to talk about everything before but this was something totally new. A part of me wanted to inhale the smoke that you issued from your mouth. I wanted to breathe in a part of this new you and I wanted to see if I recognized anything. It was then I realized that everything had changed. We only exchanged a few sentences back then, the words terse and vapid.
I have to be honest with you. The first thing I wrote here is the ending. The reason is that I wanted to go step by step back in time, and as I reviewed the memories I have of you, I erased that moment from my mind. Each memory is punctuated by a object, and each object is something that I burn from my memory. I wrote the ending first, because I wanted to make sure that I forgot everything about you.