I have this copy of Fellowship of the Ring. It's so old it might as well have been Tolkien's. The pages are smooth and careworn. The cover fell off once and is held on now with a wide swatch of black tape. It smells old. My best friend gave it to me back when we were both in the loop – back when he called me brother and the summer nights seemed endless.

The last time I moved and had to pack all of my junk away into boxes, I took his book down from the shelf just like all of the others, but as soon as I touched it I had a memory. We were in the park and fighting. It was my fault, a crappy end to an otherwise wonderful afternoon. I remember it was my fault. I remember that it had rained earlier in the afternoon, so the grass was still wet. I remember it was very hot and by the time we started to fight the sidewalks were just starting to dry, a scattering of large light-colored patches on the concrete. I can't remember why we were fighting – I've tried, but I just can't remember – but it was my fault, I'm sure of that.

He started to walk away. I got hysterical. I begged, pleaded with him to stay. He couldn't walk away, not now, not after he knew everything about me. Not after we'd confessed secrets and dreams. Not after I'd finally invested and risked myself. I got so scared when I realized I might lose the one thing I valued most. I never knew friendship was so important. I started to shake just a little and my breath came in tiny ragged gasps.