They sat on her bed, albums spread around them, technicolour photos scattered across the cloth continents of blue. He was there often, the only company she had to keep, and she was thankful for it for his presence saved her from creating personalities in her head. She knew she would be okay as long as she had him. She always showed him something she kept close to her heart whenever he visited her: sometimes a playlist of her favourite songs, or a box of old letters, recently she had been showing him photographs: still images of ghosts from her past captured onto glossy paper.
She had spent weeks contemplating when she should show him her most personal item, a box that was entirely hers and nobody else’s; a box containing her very own memories. She decided tonight would be the night.
She watched him under the glow of the orange table lamp, intently looking through the photographs, running his fingers over the people’s faces, as if asking them to tell him their stories. He looked up, and met her eyes.
She looked at the box on the uppermost shelf, and jerked her head toward it, then looked back at him.
“Are you sure?” he asked, a slight sense of surprise on his face
She nodded, a second too late; he could sense the hesitancy,
“No, you don’t have to”
“I want to,”
“Are you sure?”
“I think so,”
“I don’t want to see into your past unless you want me to. I don’t have to.”
“I want you to, I’m just scared.”
“Of what you might find,”
“I don’t want to look unless you want to show me,”
“I want to show you; as long as you promise things won’t change afterwards,”
“Of course they won’t”
“Promise. But I don’t want you to show me if you’re going to regret it after. It should be something that’ll make you happy. I don’t want you to feel like you shouldn’t have taken the risk with me,”
“I won’t regret it; I want you to know this part of me.”
“What part is that?”
“The part that no one else knows”
He pulled the box over onto his lap and she smiled a wide grin as he opened the lid, and out pour every wonder. Memories, fluid as a midnight vapour in the icy months of the arctic, wispily slipped through his fingers and coiled up his arms, they climbed up his neck and sleeves and down his socks and ran through his hair, they latched onto her clothes and spiraled around her torso, like gazelles in the African bush. Every birthday, every heart break, every second of pride and accomplishment, every mundane weekday that had long forgotten poured out of the capsule and burst through the room, and her entire past was played before them.