His stories seldom carried names. They were like pieces of a puzzle, without definitive timelines or protagonists, just flashes of bright colours and emotions on a wordy canvass. They fell dangerously from his lips, as if cast to the wind with abandon – a million wispy seeds of a dandelion drawn from every bright yellow memory.
She liked catching hold of them as they came her way and trying to put them together. Fit them as well as she could, so it’d feel like she was right there with him, looking on when each moment happened. Like on the nights he spent under the purple stars or wandering the streets of a distant city with a pretty woman. She wondered if it could be thought of as treachery, this stealing of another’s nostalgia and making them your own.
Sometimes it irked her that the people were nameless and faceless. The scenes in her head were splotched at best, with the hues a bit runny and the textures mostly grainy, and the sounds quite muffled – you could never tell if the laughter that sprang up at the beach and the hills belonged to the same person, or if the shadow with the silver trinkets had eyes of gold or of green. But at other times, she felt relieved that he stuck to pronouns. Names made people too real, too important, and she preferred to think of them as expendable characters who didn’t really matter at the end of the day. Like the crowds at concerts who exist only to create a blurry background for your excitement. Names meant he cared enough to give them identity and carry them carefully from one story to the other; like their presence in that space made all the difference. And that wasn’t something she liked to think about. She preferred to let these fall to the ground. The lines were too stark for her to merge into them, and she always felt the faces frowning at the intrusion, letting her know she didn’t belong, reminding her their moments aren’t hers to hoard. She pushed back a twinge of jealousy and waited for him to speak.
“Did I ever tell you about..”, he began.
She shook her head no, and spread her arms wide, ready for another night of story-picking.