That’s what you are,
Though near or far.
Like a song of love that clings to me,
How the thought of you does things to me.
Has someone been more…
2AM. We were sitting on the sidewalk in front of his house, next to an empty bottle of Skyy and a half-open box of cigarettes. He fiddled with his Zippo, weaving it through his fingers out of habit before his hands got a little shaky. You’d think we’d both be experiencing the greatest buzz of our lives, considering that he just threw the most amazing going away party for himself in the history of going away parties. Instead, we were sitting in silence underneath a dim street light.
"Can’t believe you’re moving," I managed. It was so blunt and out there that I almost laughed… the single topic we’d been so carefully avoiding all evening.
It suddenly occurred to me that I probably looked like a mess. Scuffed nude pumps from drunkly stumbling through the front yard, ripped black tights from when a little stray string got caught on the dining room chair on the way to the bathroom, a worn silver party dress that was missing a few sequins. It was almost funny.
He sighed next to me. “Yeah.”
Suddenly I felt my cheeks grow hot and my vision became blurry. My lower lip quivered. “Remember a few years back when I said that if you ever left me, I wouldn’t see you off?”
He nodded once.
"Yeah, well I’m holding myself to that. Don’t expect me at the airport tomorrow, you douchebag."
He laughed. A worn, sad, tired laugh. I felt his hand on mine, so warm. He wasn’t nearly as drunk as I was, but I appreciated the sympathy.
Many nights we’d spent here, kickin’ it on the curb in front of his house, whether it be chatting about nothing in particular to catching our breath from sprinting away from busted parties. He lived in a quiet neighborhood where the neighbors didn’t give a crap about much so long as you didn’t burn their houses down. How many summers did we spend together on this curb, discussing relationship problems or how he served as some dynamic equalizer to my rather mundane personality.
"You know," he started awkwardly, glancing at me before settling his gaze onto his slim-fit slacks. "You’re really beautiful, regardless of your blood alcohol level." I suddenly thought it was the funniest thing ever, his choice to dare wear a pair of slacks with a worn pair of Nikes. I’ve always liked those Nikes. "…and you’re hella distracted right now, but it’s cool."
"What are you saying?" I sounded sort of accusatory. It was just awkward and all, him being my best friend. But at the same time, it was kind of exactly what I needed to hear.
"I know you hate this type of stuff… but I kind of love you, you know? You’re sort of amazing." He sighed and looked away.
Cue the hand squeeze and suddenly I was crying. Hard.
"It’s been six years or so since we first met, but you’re not like the rest of them. You stayed by me, and I’m thankful. I’m not trying to give you a grand speech about how amazing you are, but you are. You’re the greatest friend I’ve ever had and I wish I didn’t wait until I was moving across the country to try and stupidly confess the love I’ve had for you forever now. I never thought I’d see the day, actually. I hope that you’ll forgive me for this, but please don’t cry.” He paused, scooting closer to me and wiping the stray mascara that was bleeding down my cheek. “I’ve seen you cry countless times over other guys, but please, not over me. I was kind of hoping that my little confession would’ve saved you the tears. You know, put a little optimism in you. Guess that didn’t work out…”
"So what now?" My voice cracked and I didn’t dare look at him.
"Well, I guess it’s too late now, whether you decide to tell me if you feel the same about me or not… but I guess all we can do is enjoy the time we have left together. Sorry." He put his arm around me, best friend-style. "Didn’t mean to make things worse. Chin up, okay? We’ll always be best friends, and a couple thousand miles put between us isn’t going to change shit, aight?"
After a few minutes of shaking my shoulders to the rhythm of my sobs, I realized that this wasn’t how I wanted to spend my last moments with him.
So I took his advice, and held my chin up… and then I kissed him.
"I’ll come back." He sealed his promise with another kiss.
A few minutes from now, we’ll probably be doing something more than kissing.
A few hours from now, he’ll be getting on a plane.
A few days from now, I’ll call him and we’d talk about how he liked his new home.
A few months from now, I’ll still willingly write him corny love letters about how I missed him while also discussing the latest zombie movie that has been released or old reruns of CSI.
A few years from now, who knows where we’ll be.
All I know is that I’ll still be waiting.
He slid his Zippo into my hand. Before we began kissing again, he said, “Hold onto this for me while I’m gone… because we’ll be needing this to light up a celebration bowl for just us two when I come back, just like old times. Promise you won’t use it until then.” I laughed at the thought. I wasn’t much of a smoker anyways, and was he really talking about old times as if we were really suddenly a thing of the past now? From that point on, we clung to each other tighter than the spandex material of my dress clung to my curves. And so we lay there on the curb in front of his house, kissing under the night sky, completely exposed to the rest of the neighborhood underneath the spot light of a street light, PDA all the way, no shame. It was sloppy. And it was beautiful.
Suddenly, his seventy-two year old neighbor slowly cruised down the street in his old Mustang making his way home at the end of the culdesac, not minding the crazy Last-Friday-Night looking couple on the curb, bumping a song almost as loud as the car’s engine. A familiar jingle that I’d heard at some point on every Valentine’s day and a song that my parents slow-danced to for the most part of my early childhood; “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole.
In every way,
And forever more
That’s how you’ll stay..
That’s why, darling, its incredible
That someone so unforgettable…
Thinks that I am unforgettable too…”
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