I rung in the new year last night at my cousin Beverly’s apartment. I’d been there with you, years earlier. Before the brisket but after the chopped liver, I found your photo in a bowl. I could almost hear your laugh. I’d introduced you to everyone, prepped you beforehand on their individual back stories. You and I did all the Jewish holidays together, and I was proud to call you mine. I almost felt as if I owned you, could touch you, tell you, pet you when I needed to. I imagine it’s how Alex feels about me now.
I fell in love with you early. You are quite possibly the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen. Your laugh and eyes, your quiet way of doing things, you drew me close to you when we walked the streets, our arms crooked, our heads cocked. You called me your soul mate but never aloud. You’d never use the word now, not after reality television with its sparks and connections.
I loved the way you took my arm as we walked the street, how you touched me. My favorite part of you was your “tell” when you were shy, which was often, but few would have guessed it. Your laugh is stuck with me, though, liquidy and warm. I want to climb into bed and pet it.
You were the kind of friend I thought I’d always have, the one who’d have stood up to the teacher in my defense. The one who’d always defend me and let me defend you right back. You let me love you, and you made it easy.
I now learn what you’re up to every now and again, wondering why we’re not close anymore. I suppose we allowed ourselves to grow apart, but I miss you now and wish you were in my life. The sad truth is, though, perhaps now we’d have less in common. We wouldn’t be, wouldn’t have now, what we were. I’ve tried too many times, reaching out toward you. And it’s okay. I have enough in my life now. There will always be room for you.
So many of the people I have loved are still there, stuck on photos, and I wonder if I give too much weight to my past. Sometimes, I feel heavy and warm in it. I miss you. I slipped the photograph into my “Straight Up & Thirty” box and left my cousin’s apartment missing and loving you still. You’ll never know how you’ve impacted my life, how I miss you, your weight on me.