She always took the photos, I did the riding and the words. It kind of worked, even if I thought she looked better in front of the camera, and wrote better words than I did.
She's not here anymore, so I took the photos. They weren't as good as she would get, neither technically, nor with the eye for beauty in the small things. I uploaded them to my laptop, finally maxing out its meagre memory thanks to a lazy "maybe tomorrow" approach to file management.
I dug out the external drive. Still neatly split into "TOM" and "JENN". Jenn's half packed full of pictures and words, all neatly tucked away in their very own electronic home. Tom's half as ordered as my physical memory feels sometimes. So many moments that I'm not ready to file away, swirling around, within touch, but further away than ever.
I open a folder, "personal". Within it sits little notes from when we first met, full of optimism, fear, a future. A future we enjoyed, that was everything it should have been, that was meant to be so much more than we were given. The words cut deep and clean. Tears flow like blood. Warm, viscous, vicious. It hits. I miss looking forward. I miss those first few months... learning about each other, each day an indulgent adventure in sharing ourselves. I miss the last few months, bonds stronger than ever, a shared history if not a shared future anymore.
I open one more file. "Wedding". As the title suggests, they are a short extract we asked my Dad to read at our wedding ceremony. They were from a book by Jim Perrin; West. It is simply a beautiful, moving and poetic description of loss and mourning. One which Jenn encouraged me to read. One which left me disarmed and gave me solace. It was a book that had pencil underlining, little scribbles and asterisks. It called for a second or third reading, for dwelling on single sentences or words as well as the picture they painted. I looked for it after Jenn had died. I could picture the spine sitting on our higgledy-piggledy shelves, sagging under the weight of letters, words, paragraphs, chapters. There was no order in the chaos. We liked it that way. The book wasn't there. I searched some more, until I eventually had to accept it was lost, for now at least. Maybe it wasn't the right time. Maybe I wasn't yet ready.
This was the extract we chose. I'm trying to cling on to the small moments and simple things.