A GIF Burned Into My Brain

I woke up this morning with a GIF burned into my brain. The shock hasn’t quite set in yet, but I can tell it’s gonna leave a scar.

The GIF in question is of a friend whom I loved with everything I had in my heart at the time, and lost, for a short list of reasons that could either be complete bullshit, or confirm all the worst shadows I’ve seen fall across my face in the mirror.

In the GIF, she stands on an almost-fake green, grassy hill, hair let down, in a tank top and a long skirt, no glasses, and she turns toward me with a smile completely bereft of context or irony, or selfishness or self-consciousness. She looks more beautiful than I could ever put into words. Maybe that’s why my brain generated the GIF, and why I sit here struggling clumsily with things like format and spelling.

Behind her, the city spreads out vaguely, a distant wasteland under a youthful sunset.