Perhaps this isn’t the place for this.
But sifting through a decade of forgotten emails, there you were, tucked between a dispatch confirmation and a self-mailed English essay. And like a thunderbolt, you flashed back into prominence.
I tuck you away in a corner of my heart and in a darkened room in my memory because I am something of a coward when it comes to you. Were I to give over the time that remembering the three inch scar on your left leg or the delicate dimpling of your cheeks, I’d fall down a wormhole with your name on it. It is easier to pretend that at any moment, I might hear your laugh; the one full of stars.
And there you are with a head of raven hair so thick that you shook seasons out of it and onto your bedroom floor. With eyes that cut swathes out of my shyness and tied them in multi-coloured twists around your wrist to present to me later, a smile curling at your lips. Remember when we first met? You would barely talk! Now look at you, motor mouth.
The knot of grief ties itself in place at the bottom of my stomach.
Our friendship was coloured with words; ducking and weaving across the pages we filled with the shades of our imaginations. But there were silences too, fathomless ones where we left our words scattered across the floor and the silence was filled with affection – the knowing looks and secret signals of a friendship that transcended muteness.
When we fought, we did so in circles and I’d wait for the stamp of your foot. In the end, when you were quiet, I sent up a thousand tiny prayers like doves that you’d stamp it just one more time.
In the end.
Because there wasn’t a warning or a period of preparation. You were there and then you weren’t and when I tried to make sense of it on nights we should have been spending filling notebooks with stories, I found that I couldn’t and eventually, I stopped trying. Our goodbyes were stolen by circumstance. By the time I got to you, you were gone.
So then what? All that is left is to miss you. And to leave the door to my dreams open so that you can visit. When I am not guarding my heart and have left my mind unattended, you creep in and bring with you the smell of summer and the imprint of you on the shores of my soul.
What I wouldn’t give for a final tempest-like blast of your temporary anger that faded into sniffles and murmured apologies before falling away like scales.
Because if I had to choose, I would choose that over this – the empty space where you should be that nobody else can quite fit.
Loss is a strange thing; a many fingered beast that looms when you least expect it. Death is stranger still.
I set my jaw and open your email and there you are in black and white on my screen:
You left your History book at mine, babes. I can bring it to your house tomorrow if you want? x
And it is nothing and it is everything all at once.
Again, perhaps this isn’t the place for this.
But then you deserve a place here.
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Stereo. 20-something aspiring bon vivant. London based. Exceptionally Nigerian. Partial to snark. My default setting is "wry". Jeans and blazers are my uniform. Landlady. Speed reader, tuneless singer, hoarder of words, drinker of Schloer; I am suspicious of most people, have zero tolerance for tomfoolery, have a vast DVD collection, worship at the altar of Al Green, own too many bottles of nail polish, have small eyes, small ears and giant hair and owe approximately 86% of my awesome to the Parents Typewriter.
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