All The Things I Wonder About You

All The Things I Wonder About You

To Cai.
A collage containing the beginning thoughts to my endless questions and what-if’s. I miss you every day, rest easy.

Image description: Photo of a smiling face - scribbled over it, “This photo is the person I last remember.” The words on the right corner are cut off. There is a half burned fortune cookie reading: For insight on quandry turn to the people with firsthand experience. 8 used matches lay disorderly, with one unused match in the group. Rainbow ribbon peeks from the side of the collage.
Image description: the writing at the top of the scan reads, “Are you allowed to love a person you no longer know? I’m not sure if this is one of my best works, but it’s the most heartbreaking one.” An old receipt with the words scribbled on: Are you watching over me? This was the receipt of the last day I talked to you. Underneath the receipt, another photo of Cai. On their arm, scribbled words: I think of you every time I go to church, it was the last place I saw you. Written on Cai’s face, this photo is the last person you were. In the left corner of the photo, words cut out of a magazine: Your heart will ache and soar. The rest of the rainbow ribbon. Two more used matches, this time with ash around them. Blurry words can be seen to the side of the scan.
Image descriptors: look to last photo. The only new part of this cut of the scan is a 35mm film picure of a group of friends. A sheet of paper is glued to it, with the words: If you were here, would I see you at the dances? Gay prom is coming up again, would we have gone?
Image description: Covered by the corner of the 35mm photograph, is a printed out picture of old-school punks in black and white. Legs crossed, adorned in cross necklaces and fishnets. To the left of the photo the words: We never went out for coffee. The words in the middle of the photograph are  covered by the matches. The words (if they were visible) would read: The last song we listened to together was Baby I’m Yours.

I made this collage for Cai, an old friend, a good friend. It was fate when I met them at gay prom at the end of June in 2016. I haven’t seen them since the middle of my middle school years and to refind them was heartwarming, just as much as losing them was heartbreaking. I doubt the value in my love for them and the blatant question of being able to grieve them this long. I was not close to Cai in their last days, but that didn’t affect my hurt and love for them nonetheless. Am I allowed to love a person I no longer know? Do I get to hurt this bad for a person I was no longer close to? My sharpest memories lie in 7th grade. The person I remember last was not the person I saw last, or the person you were last.

Cai, I hope you can see this from where you are.