Pretend that you remember the scent of the juice from the freshly squeezed oranges seeping into the crevices of his hands, that you remember the sound of his fingers juggling housekeys after returning from a ten-hour workday at the pharmacy, that you remember his chuckle, always hoarse but never as hoarse as the last time you heard it, cancer-ridden and muffled over a 4,000+ mile distance on a phone call. That you tried to minimize that distance during the past ten years. That you worked twice as hard at texting an “I love you” than you did at memorizing useless 16th century European monarchs. That you cared enough to receive a phone call from him to not pretend you were studying, or reading, or at a meeting, or doing anything other than waiting for that call.
Pretend that you knew him.
Pretend that you had more time to fix things, that you wept over his death itself and not over the fact that you wasted a decade trying to erase from memory that Saturday morning where you sat by the breakfast table, munching on sugar-glazed croissants and telling ancient stories you can’t remember, he with his legs half-crossed, you trying to imitate him.
Pretend that you never forgot him. That you tattooed the orange juice and the house keys and the chuckle on your body.
Pretend that you tried. That you’re not guilty.
Pretend you don’t care.
Karen Gonzalez-Videla is an undergraduate at the University of South Florida. She’s currently pursuing a degree in Psychology and Creative Writing, and she loves combining these two passions in her work. Although she writes about a variety of subjects, she focuses mostly on the immigrant experience and the exploration of one’s womanhood. Her work has been featured in PANK, Menacing Hedge, Ghost Parachute, Sidereal Magazine, and other places. You can find her on Twitter at @Gv12Karen.