The compulsion is to say everything at once

She used to worry that if she stared too long at the sun she’d end up filled with too much light. The kind that would seep out of every pore. The kind that would flood out of her eyes, her smile; there would be flashes of light each time she yawned. It would be blinding and unusual and she’d never be good at hide-and-seek.
And it wasn’t quite as foolish, though almost maybe, as the time he believed that the lake was crying. He woke up to the sound of the waves and they sounded like sobs, breaths drawn in shuddering. He walked to the edge of the water and looked out to see if he could see the sadness. There was nothing but water pounding water. The ceaseless weight of waves against waves. He thought that there was something tragic in the way that water couldn’t possibly feel how it hit against itself until it broke finally against the shore. The shore was like life to him. The waves were everyone he ever loved. He thought about how cold the water might feel, especially if he let it cover him whole. He thought the lake was crying.
Or, of course, it could be compared to the time that they tried to go a whole day without looking at each other. They both thought the other was okay with it. They both thought that the other was secretly glad to be always looking away. The thing is that every time they snuck a look was the one time that the other was looking away.
Then there’s how you once decided that you would walk across the ice cloaked pond. You said it would be something to do and something to have done once in your life. You just walked across as if it was stone instead of ice, as if there wasn’t just a thin line of frozen water separating you from water that would pull you down quickly. At the other side, everything looked the same and you wondered if your footsteps made tracks across the ice. But there was nothing there when you looked behind you.
And remember that time that we decided to visit every graveyard in the state and you took photos of all of the signs posted. There were so many rules for the graveyards. And I said that graveyards never scared me. They seemed like places of hope in the strangest way. They were there for the ones who go on. They were like saying I’ll remember you and I’ll remember you and I’ll remember you. And you said that you didn’t want a grave stone. You wanted a tree. And I thought about that and it made me dream that night that you turned into a tree. Not all at once, slowly, setting down roots first. And finally the tree looked like you. Even your tattoo became something etched into your trunk and in the dream I couldn’t stop crying, running my hands over the rough edges of bark until my palms wept blood.
There was nothing I thought that I believed in quite as much as everyone else. Or I thought that until I looked out the window one morning and saw the way the light from the sun hit the ice just right and everything seemed to shimmer and the way the light was caught and reflected in flashes reminded me of lighthouses, of codes, of coming home in the dark and seeing everything I’ve ever known suddenly illuminated.

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