Someone mentioned granola to me today and I thought of you. I thought of that week I spent with you, our sophomore year, when we had that blizzard and your whole state was shut down. I remembered walking through the snow with you to that store to buy huge Thompson raisins and almonds and sesame seeds and oats. I remember mixing and baking and how different the product was from any granola I'd ever had: thick, sweet, crunchy clumps. I remember being amazed by you -- that you knew how to do this. Had you known this in high school? We retreated to your room and watched the snow cover the skylight.
I remember wearing garbage bags and sledding with you and your roommates, Stick and Stu and Steven. There was an endless soundtrack of Allman Brothers music coming from Steven's room, and I can't hear "Jessica" without thinking of that dingy house with surfboards in the corner and a batik fabric hung up as a curtain. I remember a walk I took down to the river when you were in class, how I poked around in the mud with a long stick and watched three black birds across the brown water. I remember the train station and how I left late at night, with your blue wool sweater.
A few days after I got back to school there was a letter from you, on the yellow pages of a legal pad, in an envelope that you'd decorated with pictures of chairs. Do you remember that? You always used to decorate your envelopes and that one made me laugh. Sometimes you dripped candlewax on the pages of the letters or on the envelopes, and I think you did that with this one. I posted it up over my desk where I could see it and think of you.
And then you came to visit me at the end of the semester and we had that stupid fight, walking along College Street in the misty spring night. I still remember it, how irritable I got, how circular I found your logic. We fought about acting, whether acting and theater was worthwhile or not, whether it mattered if something you work on lasts. Why were we fighting about that? You wanted to get philosophical; I just wanted to go to bed. I remember that night so well, climbing up into my loft with a sense of dread and sadness, lying beside you under the ceiling I'd painted sky blue with clouds. I was sad because I'd decided on that night, during that dumb conversation about acting that neither of us really cared about, that we weren't right together. I wish I could go back and shake myself, but I was beginning to be charmed by a sailor at my school named Mike, and it probably wouldn't have done any good. That summer you took me surfing in the moonlight and I remember the sandy itchy feeling of the green sweater I was wearing, wet and heavy against my skin when you pushed me into the water. You told me you were falling in love with me and I didn't know what to say. I didn't love you back, and to this day I don't know why. You got mad at me in a letter you sent from Africa and I so wanted your forgiveness but didn't know how to ask for it.
I hear you're getting married, or maybe you already have. The last time I saw you was when I was studying for the bar exam, when you and I and Harpo snuck into that private beach and clambered around on the seaweedy rocks and wrote our names in the sand with sticks. You told us about her -- a model, a divorcee, an artist. It sounded turbulent but you were in love. California was good for you. I was happy for you and a little bit jealous.
I think of you from time to time. I wish I'd been a better communicator back then. I wish I'd at least tried to tell you what I felt, and what I didn't feel. I don't think I was wrong -- we probably weren't meant to be partners, although I still can't figure out why. But I would have liked to stay friends. Remember how we laughed? I think of you and I think of laughter, and of outdoor adventures: climbing rocks and diving into water. I hope you're doing lots of that, wherever you are.