If you were still here, I would tell you that I love you. I never told you how much I love you enough, and truthfully, I wonder if any number of times would have felt like enough. We were supposed to have more time. We were supposed to visit so many places together. If you were still here, I would hug you. I would struggle between wanting to hug you and wanting to hold you at arm’s length so that I could get a good look at you, but the hug would eventually win out. When you hugged me, it would make me sigh with relief. I felt safe and relaxed. I miss that so much. Remember the year Sam passed away and you surprise visited me because you knew how sad I was, and we stood in the doorway of my kitchen hugging for nearly 10 minutes when you got there? If you were still here, I would do that. I would bake your favorite peanut butter cookies and make hot chocolate for you. I would tell you how much I miss your baking and how much better you always were at it than me.
If you were still here, I would tell you about everything you’ve missed. When I moved out of my last apartment, I cried because I could see you in every corner and hear you echoed in the walls. Sometimes I think about how you’ll never see this apartment and I miss you all over again. If you were here, I would sit on the sofa with you and tell you about my adventures in moving until your laughter filled up the air and seeped into the walls. I know you won’t like this, and I truly am sorry, but if you were here, I would cry. I’ve missed you so much and some days it feels like there’s always going to be this hole in my chest where you should be. There are moments where underpinning the fun, I feel how much better an experience would be if I could share it with you.
If you were still here, there are so many songs you would absolutely adore, and there is so much dancing we would do. I miss how a three-song dance party in the living room would turn into a long conversation on the sofa where we would stay until one of us would yawn and maybe fall asleep haphazardly. If you were still here, I would show you all the pages in my journal that no one else will ever get to see. I would ask you for advice and tell you all the things I’ve learned about myself since you’ve been gone. I would show you all the poems I’ve written and share the ending of the novel you never got to read. I miss how you would ask me to read out loud to you. I miss sitting out in the patio with hot tea and blankets, whispering as if the cicadas were trying to listen to all our secrets.
If you were still here, I would thank you for so many things. I would thank you until you do that thing where you roll your eyes and tell me that this is how friends are supposed to be. I would hum the tune to our theme song just to make you sing the first line until we’re both singing it and laughing about that long night with Jason on his guitar where he wrote the song for us. I haven’t sung it since you’ve been gone. If you were still here, I would ask you to forgive me for all the times I’ve been sad where I knew you wouldn’t have wanted me to be. I would ask you to forgive me for the times I didn’t take care of myself even though I could hear you in my head.
If you were still here, I would tell you how much I appreciate your friendship and thank you for setting the bar so high. You were the first person to make me feel accepted and understood. You were genuine, and you never let the allure of access to new experiences deter you from presenting yourself as you really were. If you were still here, I would take so many selfies with you against your will, just so I could have pictures to look back on. I would ask you for your opinion on so many of the things that have changed and emerged since you’ve been gone. If you were still here, I would tell you that I love you and that no matter how much time passes, I promise never to forget you. I promise never to forget the things I learned from you and the memories we made. I promise to silently celebrate you and choose to be happy as often as I can. Even though you’re not here, I promise to love myself as much you did. Always.