The first time I ever really talked to you, you made me feel like I was the only person in the room. That was your specialty. It takes a unique person to get along with everyone they meet; yet you did it. You were so, so good.
The first time I ever really talked to you, I laughed until tears ran down my face. I don’t normally do that, yet you provoked tears with your idiotic jokes and puns. You were so happy it was infectious. You were always happy. It was hard not to be happy around you.
I think that’s what I miss most now. That happiness that you incited in me. I’ve never been that happy before. It was just perfect, raw bliss.
The last time I ever saw you, I almost cried. Not because I knew it was the end. You never really know when the end is until it’s too late, and you’re looking back.
The last time I saw you was on my 19th birthday. You’d lied and said you were too busy to come into town to celebrate. Sure enough, there you were, much to my surprise.
“Of course I wouldn’t miss your birthday,” you’d said to me, hugging me tightly. “What kind of friend would I be if missed this?”
That was a long time ago.
This morning, I woke up in a sheen of sweat. The AC doesn’t work in this shitty little apartment. I wish you could have seen this place. It’s nothing special, but then again, I crashed so often on your couch that any place of my own in the city would have excited you. I guess it’s nice enough. Minus, of course, the temperature.
I remember waking up last summer, in your house, covered in a sheen of sweat. No houses on this campus have AC. If they do, the rent is too much for the average college kid to afford. Everyone is sweaty and angry all the time here.
I remember lazy summer days where you made the time and restlessness pass with your stupid jokes that always made me laugh. I remember asking about your day, every day, and in turn telling you all about mine, no matter how mundane it was. I remember summertime with you around.
Everything I do this summer reminds me of last. I had never much liked dancing, until I met you. After I met you, I danced, but only because you wanted me to. And even though it’s been almost a year since you left this earth, I still dance, because I’d like to think that you’d want me too.
“Everyone likes dancing,” you once told me.
“Well, you’re lying.”
I was lying. You could always tell when I was lying.
I still dance. I’ve danced a lot this summer. I just went dancing a couple weeks ago. It was one of the nicer bars, one with AC, but I was still sweating from how much I was dancing. Sometimes, on nights like those, I forget that you’re not there. It’s nights like those that I hate myself the most. To think that I could ever not feel your absence terrifies me.
Most nights it feels wrong. I catch myself laughing at something you would’ve laughed at. I go to bars you used to love. I hear your favorite songs on the radio. I don’t much feel like dancing then.
It was so hot out the last time I saw you. We sat out on the porch and talked, much of the conversation a blur in my head due to the time that has now passed and the tequila shots we took. You never complained about the heat, though.
It’s so hot now and almost my birthday. A sick part of me keeps thinking that you’ll show up and demand, “What kind of friend would I be if I missed this?”
That’s the hardest part. After nearly a year of you being gone, I still imagine you’re going to show up somewhere, declare it all some elaborate hoax. I see you everywhere. It’s hard, but it’s better than not seeing you at all.
Or, I keep thinking I’ll wake up, in my hot, sticky apartment, and it will have all been a dream. You’ve been to my new place, and you love it. We go dancing every night, and I don’t feel the need to lie or be embarrassed when I’m dancing with you. You don’t surprise me at my birthday, because I spend it entirely with you.
I keep thinking I’ll wake up to a summertime with you, instead of this one now. Because summertime without you is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Being here on this earth without you is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.