I remember asking him to play a Katy Perry song. Indulging in what he would deem as absurd. He smirked and walked away. I remember him behind the counter. Are you going to buy something this time? I remember chamomile tea and banter. Chamomile tea. Banter. I remember him serving me a potent green tea that kept me up as countless thoughts nestled their way into my head that was clogged like a drain. Thoughts swirled round and round until I heard the birds chirp outside my window. I remember telling him such. He told me to come back again. I remember how he gave me a free cup on a Sunday afternoon in June when my skin was burnt from the sun. External burns to show for my hurt.
I remember him playing his guitar. You’ll forget the sun in his jealous sky, as we walk in fields of gold. I remember the personal conversations. Our parallel lives. Those who were responsible for the empty spaces in our hearts, for our raw emotions in the hot, sticky air. I remember his car at 1 AM, parked in its place. Vulnerability coated our tongues, our breaths.
I remember when he asked me to dance in that bar, and how I didn’t know if I should look up at him. I remember treading cautiously and I remember my face being flushed.
My summers are for turning points. Change, for better or for worse. But even if it is for worse, it’s ultimately for the better because it’s where we’re meant to be.
I remember the night of his play and leaving his house before something could happen. I remember hating myself the night I told him I couldn’t. We can’t. I don’t think so. I remember calling 5 days later. I really value our friendship, I said into the phone.
I remember the first night the hesitancy dissipated; even if only for a moment at dawn. I remember the August chill. The boardwalk. The waves encompassed in black. An ocean that appeared infinite, vast, bigger than me. Bigger than us. I remember him looking over at me when we were stopped at a red light. His car at 3 AM. Glimpses of purity.
I remember the bittersweet sighs. The reservations. I remember listening to the Jump Little Children song, “Mexico,” in my room, flushed from the heat, air conditioner humming. That song reminded me of us— a blend of melancholy with a hint of hope.
I remember the lavender skies and blue lips and floating in chlorine. I remember the park. The bites on my feet. My legs. My ankles. I remember our hands. I remember him trying.
I remember the space. The distance that was hard. I remember the stars and the bleachers on the night we stopped resisting.
I remember how my heart expanded. I remember telling him that I wanted to try.
Here’s looking at you, kid.