I was sitting there, years ago, making you a mix-tape. Probably the last one I’d ever make. Time and technology were moving ahead, and I was quickly becoming the last of my kind. My roommate was the one who saw what I didn’t.
“You’re in love,” he said, poking his head into my room. “Only people who are in love make mix-tapes.”
Maybe he was right. Maybe I was in love with you, trying to tell you words I hadn’t figured out how to say. Someone else had already figured out how to say them. Someone always would. Someone would put words to music. Someone would figure out the complicated tangle resting in my heart, my mouth, and they would tell you.
I always resisted growing older. Not so much the physical act, since that is impossible to resist; it happens, will happen, is happening whether I consent or not. Time marches forward. What I resisted is what it meant. It meant that things moved farther away from me. Things I used to be able to touch were now moving out of sight. Things were becoming intangible. A series of regrets, of wishes. But today I rummage through boxes and find the tapes, and I don’t regret. I don’t regret being born in a time when I could have a piece of you to hold in my hand. A cheap piece of plastic. Sounds pressed into it. You.
Life moves us on invisible roads now. What used to be a physical thing, a relic, something I would hand to you, to let you know, is now a series of ones and zeros traveling across space. I want to hold on to it, but it is nothing.
Sometimes I remember our songs. The lyrics enter my body, a flash of memory, a taste, a smell, and I am there again. I am humming. Soft. I am singing. Loud. I am dancing, breathing, feeling. Loving. You.
These pieces of plastic still mean something to me.