Last summer I flew back to Utah to visit my family and I was looking though drawers from my childhood bedroom when I found my old, silver, digital camera that Tanner had given me for Christmas the year I turned 16.
Inside the case there were 2 dusty memory cards.
The discovery was so unexpected and haunting that I couldn't bring myself to look through the photos. Instead, I packed the memory cards, carried them back to New York and waited until I had an afternoon to myself in my cramped Manhattan apartment and finally popped the cards in the computer.
And everything was there. All the pictures I thought I'd lost forever with the deactivation of my High School MySpace. Snaps of random memories I had completely left behind. Selfies of two smiling, happy, innocent teenagers before "selfies" were even a thing.
In a fear that I might somehow lose these physical cards that contained the only flashbacks I have left, I saved the pictures in as many corners of the Internet that I could think of. Dropbox, Drive, iCloud, my Camera Roll. Back-up on back-up.
But once I the practical preserving was done and all that was left was the reminiscing, I couldn't look anymore.
So I switched off the computer and haven't clicked back since.
But now it's February 9th, and the lump in my throat is back, so I'm scanning through the memories again. 5 years have passed and it still feels like it was yesterday that he picked me up for prom.
I miss you, Tanner.