On the Last Night

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For Gavin.

We kicked rocks along the sidewalk, they scattered out into the darkness. You gave me a piggy back ride home – the fuzz of my slippers brushing up against your thighs, my lips pressed against the back of your neck. And the night sky was clear for once – so clear we could actually see the stars.

“What’s amazing is how we can still see them even though they are millions of miles away,” you told me. I have always loved the way you speak. You put words together so well – you turn the English language into something far more beautiful. And even though you were leaving, it was like I was falling in love with you all over again. It was just cement, you and me, and a galaxy above us. I wanted to kiss you – I should have kissed you, your silhouette stood out so brightly to me, even in the dark of night. I should have tip toed, in slippers and all, and slipped my tongue in yours, just so I could know what it’s like one last time.

But even in our own sense of quiet, it was never awkward. I found tranquility with you, just standing in the dark, your pinky linked with mine, your fingers tickling the inside of my palm. And for a moment, everything was perfect. I could stay locked like this with you forever. And then you told me you loved me. And I told you how I was going to miss your stupid jokes and who was going to compliment me on my summer dresses, on my writing, on anything at all. Who was going to dance around with me to 5 Seconds of Summer? Who was going to sit across from me at a wooden table in a coffee shop and smile at me as my eyes glaze over reading some MBA case study? I fell in love with you again then – when I would stir my coffee, look up, and hear the music surround us, and every song happened to be one of our favorites.

You pulled me close to you, severing any space between us. The star light bounced off of your eyes, and the blues and the greys and even the specks of green amongst your pupils never looked so exquisite. You were – are – my safe haven. The streetlight flickered, and in that embrace I remembered everything that was and is so wonderful about you, and I’m almost surprised that an “I love you” didn’t just spill out of my mouth the first day I met you.

My serotonin levels were off the charts, and I knew this would be the last time I would ever fall in love. Because you were it for me.

So I had to take advantage of our last minutes together. I cherished the scent of you – your cologne and aftershave mixed with a trace of fresh laundry. I treasured your laugh, your touch, the way you walk. I relished in the dimples of your grin, in the crooks of your eyes, and the freckles on your face. I was so ridiculously tangled up in you that nothing else mattered outside of our existence.

I lay with you in my bed that night, feeling the rise and fall of your chest, knowing that at any moment you could shift and say goodbye. We looked at each other, saying nothing. Again, the silence was our best friend. But bravery has never been my forte, so I held out for as long as I could before the first tear fell, leaving the tiniest puddle on the left side of your t-shirt. It trickled across the arch of my nose and fell, and I gripped onto you just a little tighter. But I refused to let my cry break our bond of silence.

Knowing you were leaving, I felt like I was five years old again – that same feeling of being left at school that first day – the eight hours felt like an eternity until I saw Mom again. That’s how these four months would feel – eternal. I would need a lullaby to sing me to sleep tonight. And I felt imprisoned by all of these emotions. No, you weren’t dying, I would see you again – it would just be awhile before that happened.

And then you shifted, and with the shift came the goodbye. I promised to send you piles upon piles of belle-lettres and in return you would feel undeniably loved. And I would romanticize about the day of your return – my own colorful chimera of bliss and delight. It’s not like I felt as if we were running out of time – we are still in our twenties – we have our whole lives in front of us, but it was as if I never had enough time with you. Like I didn’t want to miss out on any part of our future together – I didn’t want to leave anything behind. I could not, would not, feel underwhelmed with you. So I decided right then and there to keep you with me. With oceans, countries, and thousands upon thousands of miles separating us, I would still find a way to keep you with me, bring you with me – anywhere and everywhere. Not physically, of course, but you’d be there – in the flickering street lights, in the color of my bedroom walls, in the light of the night stars. You are there – in my mind and in my soul. I’ll see you in my day to day tasks, I’ll hear you in our favorite John Mayer songs,  and I’ll feel you in my heart.

Until we meet again, love.

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