I wish you had held me longer.
I could use the heat of your hands on mine right now.
There’s this rising of warmth in my chest when I think of us. Sitting across from each other, skin patches stitched together, feelings untouched looming over our heads like a mobile. That’s a memory that I feel safe in.
Our legs were crossed, and we poured out everything like metal jacks on hot concrete of a playground, scooping up the parts of each other we wanted to keep.
Your eyes are blue.
I want to keep that.
You told me how your nephew has chameleon eyes that change intensity with whatever he’s wearing, and I think that’s so cute. I felt your spirit slump when we talked about him and the hurdles he was jumping with such little legs. Sometimes life is so hard, so unfair.
I wanted to keep your mind off the things that trap your happiness.
So I held your eyes with mine so your mind would be on me.
You are such a good listener.
And to think that I asked you to talk because I wanted to hear about you.
I could see your heart was so heavy, through the way you didn’t dance to the music in the dining hall. I wanted to take it from you. Even right now, I just want to carry it all.
But you’re too much of a gentleman to let me.
When we signed up to be summer camp counselors, we pretty much penciled away all predictability and normality until August. Still, shaving cream fights with seventy hormone-buzzed preteens in the ninety-six-degree heat of the day was a weekly trial. There was so much going on. High-pitched giggles, slaps to the back from unfamiliar hands coated in watered down aerosol, nobody looked like anyone, coated head to toe in white foam.
And with all the bedlam surrounding me, all I saw in the clutter was how you still looked cute with a foam beard on your face.
I caught a side smile aimed at me and broke. Scooping a chunk off my side, I ran coated fingers through your curly hair with such ease I could’ve melted into the sidewalk cracks and let the water hose wash me away.
This is so hard.
All the feelings were right there, spelled out in neon, and we left them, unclaimed.
Thinking about you makes it worse in so many ways.
I just need you here, right now. There’d be no more giggles filling the space where the truth should go, or shoulder nudges instead of hand holding. I would tell you all of this, every word.
I would hold you and let you hold me. I’d tell you the things I hate to talk about and listen while you did the same. I would sing to you and spin you around while we danced because it’s fun, and boys don’t spin as much as they should.
Can you please just be here? Wrap your fingers around mine and keep me still. I feel like there’s something in you that anchors me in the present. I’m so bad about that on my own. I just float around between it all and lose myself in the process.
This is me praying now.
Dear God, could you please give me one more chance to not screw this up? I’ll be thankful forever, and I’ll try my hardest, I swear.
Are you happy now?
Now I feel it.
I feel you feeling me from wherever the heck you are, and that makes every single part of you that’s stuck in my skin itch until I want to cry big, hot tears because I’m so full of frustration.
I can never stop feeling you.
There is nothing, no remedy, for whatever kind of situation we’re in.
How can you not be begging God too?
You better be.
Right now, I want to hear you say it.
Tell Him that you want me too.
Promise and barter and say please.
It takes two.
And if it turns out I’m the only one on my knees, I’ll evaporate.
You’re ringing in my ear, now.
Like a phone off the hook.
Dial tones, dial tones, radio static, dial tones.
There’s a buzz to the silence between us that never shuts up. How can I not be hung up on you with all these feelings so fluid in the middle of you and me?
What do you want from me?
I want to scream it.
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
What can I give you?
What will make you happy?
What will make you stay?
Just tell me.
I’d give it all.
Every single thing I’ve earned, I’d hand it to you because that’s what I do.
I throw away trophies.
If I have to say please one more time, I’ll rip my hair out. Everything attached to my body will come undone, and I’ll be a pile of pieces that can’t be put back together.
Can I get off my knees now?
I’ve put so many cherries on top of this prayer that my words are stained. Sugar runs red and flows over the boundaries of my daydreams, spilling onto the pavements that I walk on in the real world and then it sucks me in all over again.
These sentences will melt with the slightest tear. They’re fragile and resistant and sticky.
But they’re sweet.
Is all the energy I’m pumping out to put together this ransom note for the metal parts of me you scooped up in your scrapped knuckles going to be worth it? Or is it going to bounce back and shock the life out of me?
Because I’ll let it knock me out if it does.
I won’t even fight it.
I’ll let it take me.
But do me a favor before you let your lingering presence consume me. Kiss your skin before you throw the last hand.
I could use you holding me right now.
I’ll even fake-fall asleep so you can whisper to me how you feel without worrying about me judging you.
Just know, nothing you can say will make a difference.
There’s not a piece you can shake and toss out onto the concrete that I won’t pick up.
I’ll take all of you.
Even the parts of you that don’t want to play these games.
All I ask, other than everything I just did, is that you don’t drop the parts we traded that used to be mine. You can hold me, but please don’t drop me.
Because I’ll break.
I will break.