In the last photograph I have of you, your eyes are half-closed as if you were already halfway between this world and the next. It was taken the month before you died, in your bedroom. You are seated at your desk surrounded by all the books and records you used to love, and your gray-green eyes are half-closed so that their color is hard to discern. But I know their hue by heart, having memorized it a thousand times before.
In the picture, you are half-turned towards the camera as if you were between words and thought, and your expression is one of surprise. You were always so bemused by the world, fascinated with its unpredictability. Even your sickness was a mystery to you, and you preferred to think of it that way, even towards the end, when other, deeper mysteries beckoned.
I sit now in your bedroom with your mother, holding this photograph in my hands, trying to express my condolence in pre-packaged words that fall flat even on my own ears. We are seated at your desk surrounded by all the books and records you used to love, and your gray-green eyes are forever closed so that their color is now nothing more than a memory.