If I were to leave this year honest,
I’d admit that a part of me is still wishing you would come back.
Not forever, or for years or even for one night,
But maybe just for a cup of coffee.
We could sit in the corner booth beside frosted cafe windows and just talk for a little while.
I’d remember one milk and two sugars, and how your chin creases when you’re trying not to smile. I’d take note of the way you still run your fingers through your hair every time you get nervous. I’d listen closely to the rhythm and cadence of your voice as you talk lightheartedly about the past year, and I would label that song something like Peaceful Nostalgia at Last.
I would put it on repeat until it no longer ached my bones, then once I knew all the words, I would break the record in two.
See I would like to hear your laughter as nothing more than simple laughter. I would notice how it fills the room, not in its once ever-expanding universe kind-of-way, but rather as a lovely, simple noise.
I would like to breathe it in deeply, letting it fill my lungs like a drag from the last cigarette before a midnight resolution.
I would like to exhale your happiness one last time to prove to myself it has no control over mine.
I promise we can keep our glances at a safe enough distance.
When the icy blues in our eyes collide, I want to make note of how weak the gravitational pull has become.
I want to feel the fluttering weightlessness of gazes that once fell deep and heavy.
I want to break the intimacy and feel next to nothing.
Because this new year will be the first in so long that does not know you at all.
You will not be a name that is wrapped into its slow, brisk Spring mornings or hazy, drunk Summer nights. You will not wait up until midnight to wish me a happy birthday or to call me when the ball drops.
So if I’m being honest,
I want to sit there with you for just a moment. I’d like you to tell me about your family and school and how your dreams have shifted shape since we last spoke. I want to have a conversation that doesn’t become consumed with the melancholy of our relentless failure to love one another right.
I want to know you at the end the way I knew you at the start, so pure and untainted.
I want to remember you here.
I would like to meet with you one last time to see you as a person, not my person, just a person, in a café at the end of a beautifully heartbreaking year. And this, my old friend, is where I would like to leave you, wrapped in peaceful nostalgia- at last.