high school

a perfect kind of purple

450ef10c9ffb8ee57ed1430a154bfa43The sky was a perfect kind of purple as you stood across the street from me. And I thought of the boy who broke you. And I thought of the subsequent boys who fought over the broken pieces of you, taking what they wanted, leaving few remains.

And I smile across the street to you, thinking that I lost you when you lost you. You lost you, and I lost my best friend. But it seems a fair trade for you, to lose me, because at least you still have you again. Put yourself back together again. When no one thought you could. When no one thought you would.

And we’re standing in the middle of an old college town, and you’re across the street from me, a reminder to both you and me, that even the lost get found.

And you give a wave, but we don’t agree to meet across the street, because the sky is a perfect kind of purple and once upon a time we would’ve hid from the rays on a day like today, but instead the dusk decided to fall, a reminder of the fall.

And so we both walk on, in different ways, the way life seems to go these days.

And I think back to the day and the call when you told me it all and you cried about a boy who you didn’t know, but a boy who knew you too well. And I think of that day when you cried about it all, when you told me about your fall—

Falling in love,

Falling down,

Because this was the fall out.

And you cried about regret. And I cried with you and with regret.

And it seemed pointless to ask what happened. Because I knew what happened, based on the happenings of the past few days. Instead, I let you cry, and I held my breath as you held your words. Before letting it all tumble out.

I took your words, the same way I wish I could’ve taken your pain. But pain isn’t a thing that can be absorbed. It’s not osmosis or a blood transfusion. Because we aren’t still sitting through a biology class—before things got hard—learning about how the body works. Because now we’re old—or so we tell ourselves—and we’re learning about the way life works.

But maybe that’s untruthful—we’ve always known how life works.

Only now we’re discovering how love works. Or how love doesn’t work.

And I see you back in the street again, and I wish we could meet back in the street again, when you were still you and I was still me and we were still we. A best friended we.

But you lost you when you broke. And you lost you when you fell down—

Like down the stairs, when pajama pants are silky and soft and too long for short young legs, so you trip and fall and tumble. Only then there was still someone to catch you.

Words catch in your throat now, and I long for the time when they once tumbled out. When words fell as easily as we once did—chasing each other through the woods and down the street. Aboard a bus and to the school.

Falling in line.

Falling together.

Until the day you fell apart.

Until the day that we fell out.

The sky is a perfect kind of purple because that’s the way life works, but we wave from our respective sides and then we move on. Because you put yourself together again—you are whole again—but once upon a time, on a different day, with a different dark sky, you tumbled and fell, and I should’ve held harder. Onto your hand. Because you were empty handed and broken hearted but it’s hard to hold on from far away, just like it’s hard to say hi from across the street. But I should’ve held harder, because then maybe you wouldn’t have lost you. And then maybe I wouldn’t have lost you.

Because cars are passing between us, and in them are our stories. Once upon a time, on a different day with a different blue sky, we shared stories—the same beginning, middle, and end. We shared the same stories.

And then once upon a time, on a different day with a different pink sky awaiting a storm, we shared stories. Shared different stories of our lives apart—a different beginning, middle, and end.

You cried about the end. Wondering if it was the end. The end of your first real fall—not down the stairs, not in the woods. Your first real fall in love. A love without a fairy-granted happily ever after.

It’s no longer Once Upon a Time, because broken hearts don’t belong in fairytales, but the sky is shining bright. Yellow. Like your hair lightened by the sun. Like the school buses that let us share stories together. Like the sun that pulled you through the dark. Because you’re whole again. You put yourself back together again. When no one thought you could. When no one thought you would.

You’re standing across the street from me, in the middle of a college town where the lost go to get found. And the sky is a perfect type of purple, the kind that follows the hurricane, and I think it seems a fair trade for you, to lose me, because at least you still have you again. But sometimes I wish I could still have you again. Still have my best friend again. Before you broke in two, before they fought over you. You and your broken pieces.

Befriending fragments used to be hard. But now it’s all we have, so I wave across the street to you, and rather than turn in the other direction, I cross the street to you, because once upon a time I would’ve taken the fall for you, and soon the sky will turn a new shade of orange and red as the real fall arrives, so I reach out my hand to you, because we’ve always known how life works. The beginning, the middle, the end.

Only now we’ve discovering how love works. Or how love doesn’t work. We’ve discovered the fall, and what’s untruthful is to say that I’d ever want to fall without you.

Because you are still you, and I am still me, and as I reach out my hand to you, I realize all we ever lost was the best friended we.


empty handed

Your hand was never mine. It was always, always someone else’s. All I had was the hand of a best friend guiding me through a busy party, making sure I didn’t get lost. Making sure I made it through alive.

I never had your hand. Just your love.

Drunken professions oddf217f4a43e530b30bafb308439a6d9f your love as your real girlfriend sat at home waiting for your good night text message.

And I took it.

Your love.

Because that’s not something you can return for a full refund within thirty days.

And I let you say it, even though I was at home too. Safe and warm, as you battled through the winter months of outdoor partying with half my class. But you were still out there, surviving fine. Did your love for me keep you alive?

And I let you want me, even though you had her.

But how do you stop that? To say nothing was to take it. To say something was to accept it. How do you stop it?

You don’t.

And you can say you never stopped, and I can say we never began, and she can stand on the sidelines hating me and loving you as I continue to make my way through, just trying to survive.

I could avoid you. So easy to avoid you, because you weren’t holding on and we weren’t connected and in our homeroom period you could make comments on how unlike me it was to be doing my homework five minutes before class, and I could say how like you it was to pretend to think you know me.

And I can avoid her. And I can not shop at the store where she works and I can politely smile when we make eye contact in the cafeteria. And I’ll pretend to disappear into the lockers so that she can pretend I don’t exist at all.

But I do exist. And you won’t let her forget this.

Because you won’t stop.Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 1.27.48 AM

And I hate you for making her hate me.

And I hate you for saying you love me.

You don’t even know me!

But you do. Or you did.

You tell me you’re surprised to see me out. And I say I’m surprised you’re not with her.

You say you broke up and finally I can stop being surprised. You’re telling me about your tattoo and I’m listening. I promise I’m listening, but you’re standing too close and how long ago did you break up and are any of her friends here and don’t you think we could have this conversation on another day? Another time? Maybe on a night when you’re not six beers in?

Months can go by and we can switch places and it’ll be me sitting with my head in my hands as you tell me about how glad you are to be done with high school. And I’m listening. I promise, I’m listening. But is it just me or is the world suddenly spinning?

Why are you saying this now?

College is 500 miles away and it’s happening in a week.

But you don’t care. You never care.

You want to go to the park. And out to eat. But you never want to talk. Maybe I don’t know what to say. Maybe you don’t know how to listen. But I’m still leaving. I can’t stop from leaving.

You’re driving me home on that final day and the top is off your car and the wind is too loud and it’s keeping us from talking. Nature silenced us. Nature never wanted us.

I’ll get out. You’ll let me get out. You’ll let me walk away. I’m listening! I want to shout. I promise I’m listening. Say something! But you say nothing. And you can’t hold me back because you never even had my hand.

You can wash the scent of my perfume out of your sweater as you go from Aimee to Amy and now onto an Ashley. Stuck on the As. No time for B. No time for me.

And I can forget you. Because I’m 500 miles away and I’ll never have to see you.

Except on a short winter break we’ll both be buying milk at the same time in the same store. And I’ll see you out for Chinese on my summer vacation. And as I’m stopping for gas at five in the morning on my way out of town, you’ll be there.

What are you doing here at five in the morning? I’ll want to ask.

But my hands are collapsed together propping my head up as a pillow, and I have nothing to give you and I want nothing from you.

Because I maybe loved you.

But now I don’t know you.

Because you tried to love a girl without asking for her hand first.