Missing comes in stages, that I never could predict with you.
It would strike me in the middle of the day while in the cafeteria laughing with my friends. We would be acting out one of our favorite memories. One of them would laugh, and say, “Who is going to be __________________?”
Just like that, it was a hammer blow. It’s been over two weeks, but still, your name can make all my armor disappear.
Or it would hit me at night while I looked my worst. My hair would be pulled up in a bun, and my glasses slipping down my nose. I would have multiple pencils stuck random places like behind my ears, or threaded through my hair. I would be knee deep in homework when I would be struck by a thought. A memory. We use to have homework “dates” at least twice a week. Just studying together, or sharing knowledge. Those were the best times, with neither one of us wearing our social masks. Your hair would be sticking up everywhere, and you would not be wearing your usual ball cap. Sometimes we would finish homework early, and I would mess around with your hair. Trying to braid it, and twist it into funny styles. You never complained. I would remember the homework date, or my phone would buzz with a notification. I would pick it up, and a picture of us would blare at out me. I didn’t have the courage to change my lock screen, and it hurt every time I looked at it.
Sometimes missing you would hit in the morning after the first period. My friends would be whispering in the hall, saying your name because they dared not to say it to me. It was the subject that was danced over, like as if someone had died. I guess maybe two people did: The people we were together. They would act like you were the villain, to make me feel better. They just don’t understand, that you were no villain. You were not some horrible playboy who made friends with me with the purpose to break my heart. Or something else equally horrible. No, you were wonderful. And that is the hard part, knowing you wonderful and that you are gone. It might have been better if you had done something horrible so I maybe perhaps I could hate you. But I don’t think I could ever hate you.
Some days I would start to miss you before I even woke up because even dreams were no escape. Every single little thing around me, in the “haven” of my room, reminded me of you. Us. That is what life is like when you were friends with someone for over two years, and then dated for five months. It is like a curse. Several times a day I hate myself for choosing the classes that I chose because our paths crossed daily. I would be on my way to Art, and you on your way to PE. I would walk past just as you were stepping out the gym door joking with one of your friends. Or walking down the hall towards the door. You would freeze, and the laughter would drain from your face. That is one of the worst parts, watching you look at me pale-like. I know you must be going through what I am, and that hurts too. I promised you that no matter what, I would never hurt you. It was a stupid and fickle promise to make, and I should have known I would break it. Yet after five months, it was like we were in the clear……..until we were not anymore.
I feel like an imposter in my own skin, walking through the halls in a zombie-like daze. Sometimes I will catch myself, walking towards your Marine Biology class. We use to meet there every day to walk to the cafeteria together. Habits die hard, and I can’t seem to shake them. My friends and I use to sit at the table with your friends, but now we choose a small side table. I can tell that it hurts some of my friends because they are close to your friends. I hate how I talk about them in two separate groups because they use to be one. We have broken them in half, and the guilt is swallowing me.
My closet and my clothes are not touched often enough. I will sneak into my older brother’s room, and take an old sweatshirt of his. His cologne is comforting, it’s like he is not at college but here holding me. My clothes are infiltrated with yours because I use to love stealing your shirts. They smelled like pine and rainwater and bagged around my shoulders. I would snuggle into them, and wear my favorite pair of fuzzy socks. I have ball caps you gave me, that still hold the memory of your teasing grin as you said handing them to me, “If you keep stealing mine, I might as well give you a few. Of course, I expect my other five you took back, but I don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon.” It didn’t because I have a total of sixteen ball caps sitting on top my dresser, cluttering the shelves on my bookcase, and tucked in random everyday places.
My favorite books mock me, and I often cry silently staring at them. Am I weak for doing that? I shared them with you, and sometimes you would read them aloud while I curled myself into a ball listening. You understood how connected I felt to the stories, and bought me ice cream after you read aloud Fault in our Stars.
You understood my mood swings like no one else did. When I was reserved and shrinking into myself you knew my anxiety was at the surface. You would make me laugh, or purpose a cooking battle where the loser had to clean up. You lost more times than I could count, but you always made me laugh. Dancing around the kitchen wearing a purple checkered apron and a pink bandanna around your head. When I was stressed you would help me break down all my work, and help me by doing little things like unloading the dishwasher or vacuuming my house. When I was angry you would put on a soft pop music playlist, and said with that crooked grin of yours, “Would thou mi’lady care to dance?” You would prance me around the room, stepping on toes and banging into couches. When I was extremely happy or funny you knew I was on cloud nine. You also knew that one wrong move while I was in this euphoric mood could cause me to come crashing down in a sad heap. So, you would indulge me. You would play video games with me, listen to my micro-chatter, and laugh at all my jokes.
You always had the best hugs, ones that were tight but no confining. I loved how you were barely taller than me (3 inches) so I could mess up your hair playfully while on my tip-toes. You would hug me randomly without reason. I would ask you why, and you would only say, “Does every hug need a reason?” You would come up behind me and hug me in the hall. It was always a surprise and I would screech like some inhuman thing. Everyone would stare and you would laugh yourself silly. It was one of your favorite things to do. Even when it stopped being scary, I would scream. It was one of the things we did together, something that made us, us. You would hug me while I was doing homework, washing dishes at my house, playing hide-in-seek with my family, and everything else I did.
You were truly funny. Not the “funny” that every girl seemed to love. No, you were the funny that never insulted anyone or put anyone down. Whenever you made a hilarious joke or comment I would laugh my head off and call you goofball. All our friends would stare at us and either say “Awe, you’re so cute together!” (GIRLS) or “You get his jokes?!?!!?!? What was that one about?” (BOYS) You use to say when we were friends, “I’m gonna marry you because you are the only one who gets my jokes!” I always laughed it off, saying to myself, “He is not serious. Plus, other people get his jokes……right?”
I never wanted to take French in high school but it was the only class they had that was not full. You would always laugh when I was angry because I would insult you in French. I would call you cow, and mouse and anything else insulting we had learned so far. The French say, “tu me manques” instead of “I miss you.” It means, “you are missing from me.” When I learned that last week, I sobbed on my bed. Why must everything circle back to you?!
I woke up a few nights ago, sure I heard your voice. I did because my phone I had glitched. It was playing a video of the two of us having a pizza eating contest. I had downed seven, but you had beat me by three. We were both laughing through mouths full of sauce and cheese, our lips smeared orange from grease. One of the things I loved about you was your voice. It was not incredibly deep, or very high. It was in a class all on its own, and I loved it. You use to recite to me to make me laugh, a line you had to memorize in third grade. “You’re entirely bonkers But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” I would smile, and you would grin. That quote was our always.
I miss how you made me feel. You knew one of my quirks was that I didn’t like being called “beautiful.” I thought it was an overused adjective. So, you called alluring, astounding, captivating, bewitching, disarming, elegant, dynamic, exquisite, genuine, glowing, lovely, intriguing, magnetic, phenomenal, radiant, sunny, rare, unique, and wonderous. You complimented me evry other sentence but you never used the word beautiful….and that was wonderful.
You would text me random questions in the middle of the night, all sweet and weird. “If you had choose between these two things to live without what it would be? (Pizza or me.) I replied pizza but I knew that I would give up almost anything for you. And that scared me. “When people say it’s raining cats and dogs, do the raindrops really resemble animals?” you texted me one morning at 4 a.m. You would also text jokes, bad puns, and your favorite songs. I screen shot so many of your messages because each one was more surprising and sweet than the last.I let one of my best friends play on a phone for a few minutes one-day last week and she told me, “Chica, you have an obsession.” (Talking about all my photos) No, I don’t. We both did, we both had an obsession for each other…..and that was the special part.
I have wrote so many text messages that I never sent to you. It hurts to say I am cowardly when it comes to you, but I am also selfish. I know you would probably be better off without me but I can’t same the same for myself. (It is the third week of radio and verbal silence from the both of us.) At first you use to try to text, still telling me goodmorning. And goodnight. You would tell me a different way each time how sorry you were, and try to explain yourself. I read the texts, and told myself not to respond. I missed you, but if you really wanted to talk me, I passed you multible times a day at school. Some people would say you were “respecting my space” but I knew that everything in life was solved by comminication. If you were not willing to even try it, why should I respond to a text?
My younger sister started to sing along to a song on the radio a few days ago. It was Lost Boy by Ruth B. It use to be our favorite song to sing together because we were both fans of Neverland. You use to say that you were Peter Pan and I was Wendy……………..I don’t think I’m a Neverland character anymore, because every character has something to do with you. “Peter Pan” And I couldn’t bear to be your enemy like Captin Hook, so in the end, I don’t think I belong at Neverland anymore. The time we can together was wonderful, our little slice of perfection, but like Neverland must one day: It has come to an end.
I will still hold a little hope that things might change, but I know in my heart that this happens all the time. Relationships end. People cry. And people move on. It happens daily, hourly, and every second around the world. I just wish that maybe you and I were the couple that got through it.
I will always miss you, or at least remember a part of you. Yet I will delete the photos, and walk more confidently. I have accepted that we are done, even though I wish we were not. Your name will not be tip-toed around, because after all, what we had was wonderful when it lasted.
Goodbye Peter Pan, Goodbye Neverland, Goodbye.