For Emma, who is always close even though she is very far away. Because sometimes you get hit by a car and life gets put into perspective. Like the fact that life doesn’t always think of you.
“It is all loneliness, the way you live.
You get up and make the bed like you are trying
to prove a point. You make coffee that is
quite right and never finish it. This is the third day
you’ve worn this shirt. Eventually, you will paint
your nails again, wash the grease from your hair.
Once you have someone besides your own reflection
You go to parties where you know
you will only stay an hour. Lean quietly against the wall,
watching people with enviably easy laughter.
Your smile is a cracked boat in a flooded river. Close,
but still useless. You do not talk to strangers, just sit there
like a begging dog beside the dinner table,
with eyes that say “Please, come, be my friend.
I am a coward, but I’m hungry.”
— Clementine von Radics, “But Lately”
I have a video for you somewhere in my computer, but I’m much too lazy and frankly too nervous to put the footage together. It’s 11:59 on your last day and I feel as if you didn’t really happen. Were you really even here? You must have been, but it seems as if every time you are here, you go by much too quickly. You were…really great, July. I’m talking to you as if you are a person because all the memories that happened inside these 31 days are enough to make a person. I left my job of four years, my comfort job for something that makes me so excited while at the same time so nervous. It was a leap for me and one that I’m anxious about, but I know it was the correct, best and most thrilling move I could make. I have loved the people I met this month and knowing that these people believe and see something in me that I can’t quite see yet makes me want to work so much harder. I’m really happy, July. I inspired people this month and let my voice finally be heard that I kept quiet and hidden for a very long time. Because I was afraid of what would happen if I did let my opinions be known. Because I was much too young or too naive to have an opinion, or so they say, yet after a week, they are still talking and my desire to spark a conversation has turned into a full fledged forest fire. So, thank you, July. You were here much too quickly, the year is half over, but you made me realize I have a voice. That my opinions can matter. That, although the world can be a scary and daunting place, sometimes you just need to jump. I can’t wait to see what happens in August.
How I want you to remember me:
In the crook of your arm when you’re wrapping your arms around your pillow because you can’t fall asleep at night. The blankets are too hot and you kick them off your body as everything sticks to your skin. Remember me resting a hand on your back so I know you didn’t stray too far.
In your morning coffee while you try to wipe away the sleep from your eyes and wonder what time you finally fell asleep. You’ll put in too much milk because that’s how I made mine and you’ll wonder why I drank coffee when I poured so much milk in. Remember me smiling over my mug and blushing as you look at me.
In the early light of day, right after your alarm goes off. When you roll over to turn off the beeping and see the light creeping through the blinds. Remember me hiding beneath the duvet to try to grasp the last bit of sleep.
On the couch in your parents’ house where you accidentally told me you loved me and I whispered back that I loved you too. Remember me standing up too fast, giggling down the hallway and stubbing my toe against the door frame. Remember me cursing. Remember me limping for the rest of the night.
Remember my laughter as you would say something to make me feel better. Remember all of our jokes. Remember my hand somehow always finding yours. Remember. Remember. Remember.
When they forget your birthday, smile graciously and let them know you don’t care. It’s just another day. You’re only another year older. It doesn’t matter too much. Yet. They will say all the right things to you. Things that will make you forget that you were kinda sad about the fact that they forgot you were born on this day. They will say how nice you look before placing their hand on the small of your back and bringing you closer. You will smile because you feel special and not used. Okay, maybe slightly used. But, who cares about birthdays. You’re not 21 anymore.
When they forget to text you back, reply with an emoji. The one with a straight line for a mouth. Make it seem like you’re only slightly annoyed. Hurt. Unfeeling. Whatever. You will be forever understanding that they were busy and had to play video games or watch some new movie that came out. Their phone wasn’t anywhere near them. Sorry. Sorry.
When they forget to meet you for drinks, don’t answer their calls. Hit “ignore” and drink another whiskey and coke, extra lime on the side. Smile with muster at the bartender, call him a “bar keep” because that feels funny to you. When they call your phone again, turn it off and push it to the bottom of your purse. When they show up at your house, wear the skirt that shows too much thigh. Bite your lips too much and only give them ten minutes of your time. Look at your nails too much. Point your toes inward and bounce on your heels. Walk back into the house and wipe at your eyes. Go back to bed. Turn off your phone. Envelope yourself into darkness.
When they forget to tell you that they love you too, realize it isn’t because they forgot, it’s because they don’t feel the same way. They’ll look at you and say “thanks” and that will be the end of it. Just nod and take a sip of your drink and walk upstairs without saying another word. Don’t tell them good-bye because who cares. They obviously don’t. They keep forgetting about you.