1. I wake up for once without the sky collapsing on me. Everything feels more like sun, more bright, and a lot less like mourning in the morning. The bed still feels warm to my right, I smell your coffee in the air, and sit up when you walk in holding my tea with honey in your hand. I know what it feels like to have something to look forward to when the sun has risen. I don’t spend my hours sleepwalking through life and waiting for the sun to set. You helped bring me back to life.
2. I never had to be brought back to life. I reunited with you a lot sooner than I did after that fight with you my freshman year in college. You never said the hurtful things you did, I never told you I hated you. You apologized for doing what you did that night and never called it my fault. You were there a year later, I had someone to talk to and I never tried to hurt myself when things in my life got bad again.
3. Sophomore year I need space from the sorority house I live in. I go to go to your house, and in this world I’m time determined to be honest. I walk up to your front porch and wait for you to open the door. I am not afraid to tell you how I feel. We talk about it and I accept you don’t owe me anything. I don’t get hurt later on thinking about all the other girls who lay their head on my favorite pillow in your bed. You and I are so much more, anyway. You and I stay this way – you’re one of my best friends. You’re always there.
4. Your roommates are gone. We’re outside on your porch hanging out and drinking Red Stripes. I look up at you and think how cute you are when you’re this high. We’re at the end of a spliff and you offer me a Marlboro 27. In this world I can’t help myself from asking if we could ever be more than friends. I tell you I’ve thought about it since I was 15 and met you in that Algebra II class. I confess I’ve felt something that could only be described as cosmic every time I’m around you since our first kiss that summer I was 18. You put out your cigarette and look at me. You take my face by the hands. My every pore wakes up. I feel your mouth in every cell of my body. I’m no stranger to your lips but somehow this time when you kiss me it feels oh so different.
5. I never feel hurt or used by you. I don’t stop replying to your texts. You never meet her months later. I never meet him a year after. You grow up and stop being such a boy. I grow out of most of my bad habits. I don’t drink as much. You appreciate what’s there. I never live wondering what if. We give this chemistry a chance.
6. I’ve outgrown my current relationship. Yours is hanging by a thread. I come over to your parent’s house that summer in 2011. This time you don’t tell me it’s wrong. This time I stay. In this world I don’t get back in my Jeep with tears running down my face.
7. You and her go your separate ways. I never fall into the next guy’s arms. He never becomes my next boyfriend. We don’t ever go through another period without speaking. You never get with the one you’re with now. I don’t cry at night thinking about how she has the left side of your bed. I don’t wish I was the one who you share your home with. Time runs its course, our friendship grows into something more.
8. It’s 2013 and I’m nervous in the little black dress I picked out for our first date. I’m putting on my lipstick wondering if you’ll like the lace I’m wearing beneath it. You pick me up and tell me I look beautiful. You run your thumb down my bottom lip and tell me this color looks good on me. I can’t believe we’re doing this. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as hopeful as I do in this world.
9. In this world I still got with him and you with her. In this world we’re still pretending like we’re not meant for each other. In this world I’d still drop anything to be with you, to have you as a constant in my life. In this world all I can think about when he touches me are still your hands. In this world you still think about me when you’re with her. In this world we’re both still telling lies to share beautiful nights. In this world I’m in your arms and it feels right. I leave him. And it’s still for me. It’s not for you, but I’d still say yes if you took my hand. In this world I tell you to stop talking about other lives and parallel universes in which a You and I exist. I have the courage to tell you we can make it happen in this one. I have the courage to tell you that we feel is worth burning a thousand cities to the ground. That it’s worth someone else’s pain. Someone else’s anger. In this world I tell you it’s now or never.
10. I’m staring at you and spit out the Cabernet I’m drinking, as you’re rubbing my feet. I can’t stop laughing. You ask me what I’m thinking. I can’t stop myself from telling you I never thought we’d be where we are but that I dreamed about it for so long. You tell me not to lie. I look at you and tell you about this time in college I wanted to ask you if you ever thought about an us. I tell you about that night, how your roommates were gone and we were drunk off Red Stripes. How you took me everywhere in that house. How much I wished there could be an us. I was too nervous to tell you back then. But it doesn’t matter because we’re here now. You pull me to you and take me into your lap and kiss me. Later that night we put down the wine and go out for Red Stripes.
11. I throw the first thing I can find at you. It’s a burgundy heel and I pout like a little girl when I miss. I can’t believe how late you showed up. You laugh and say “you’re so cute when you do that.” I’m hitting your chest as you take me in for a kiss. I can taste the pot in your mouth and I want to bite your tongue because this is probably why, but I don’t, because you like my teeth too much.
12. In this one I come home and you’re playing my favorite record when I unlock the door. I walk in, throw off my shoes and run straight to you. I kiss you. You know me so well, welcoming me home with Jim Morrison’s words dancing around in the air. I tell you to play anything you want after The Doors. You hand me a glass of Cabernet and start unbuttoning my dress. You kiss my neck and say “the only thing I want to play with tonight is you.”
13. I can’t stand the sight of you in this moment. I want to throw something at you because nothing makes me madder than when I see you laughing when I’m mad. I throw every damnation and curse word under the sun at you in Spanish. You get this devilish look in your eye. I should know better. You love it when I do that.
14. I don’t text you back in this world. I listen to my intuition. I save myself the pain. You never kiss me on the side of my friend’s house that summer night after my high school graduation in ‘07. I never developed a love-hate relationship with Marlboro 27’s – quitting them, picking them back up, and quitting them again. I never pick up the same habit with you. I don’t miss you because I never knew what it felt like to find myself in your eyes. I run into you at this bar in East Downtown and just remember you as this guy I had a crush on in Algebra II class when I was young.