Updated: May 3, 2020
We are in the middle of an actual global pandemic and I can’t stop thinking about a boy I fell in love with when I was freshly 18. I’d known him since 16, and we’d become best friends and he was always back burner in my brain, always there when no one else was. We made an album together, wrote a zine, stayed up past midnight countless nights talking or texting or sending memes or whatever teenagers do when they’re falling in love and don’t realize it. In the face of my youth and a family that always took more out of me than they gave, I spent my evenings with him, cooking ramen and reading poetry and walking around the tiny town I found just before my 8th birthday and he escaped to from a school in Mexico that bullied him for being too much of everything to be seen as no full part of anything.
Since we met, we fell in and out of love, visited each other in 2 countries, three states, and stayed together across oceans and time zones. Since then, he dumped me in an email and I left Berlin and eventually he did too, for reasons I still don’t know. We haven’t talked in 7 months. That’s the longest it’s ever been. Last time was 3 and a half months from the day I told him I couldn’t be his casual friend to 3 am on my 21st birthday when he texted me out of nowhere and the newer, taller, darker, stormier boy I was with told me I looked like I’d fallen into a black hole. I was wasted on the subway and his name appeared on my screen atop a paragraph of text and the truth was the ground hadn’t fallen out from under me, in reality, it had suddenly reappeared. Because as much as I still try to fight it I’ve been floating since he removed himself from my life. No one’s ever grounded me like he did. I don’t know what it is about these days but I can’t seem to get him out of my head no matter what I try. I’ve tried other beds and other hands and other songs but I think this might hurt until I’m 30. If I’m 30 and it still does I’ll drive to his door and tell him I can’t do it anymore.
Even over beers 6 months after we broke up, his laugh was still the same. The parts of each other we’d both become hadn’t faded. I don’t think it ever will. I don’t think it can.