I was driving through the high corn fields of Delaware on a dirt road that kicked up the dust and covered my windshield, when I saw the sign, “Your Last Name” County: 5 miles. And even though you escaped my mind for a while, I blinked my eyes and I was 18-years-old again. My legs were slung over your lap and we were swinging in the glider on your back porch, the lake air filling our lungs and torn bits of your LSU ticket slipping from your pocket. I devilishly smiled over at you and dared you to jump in. But you were older and stern and shook your head while I flung my shirt to the side and plunged my bare body straight into the warm water. You smiled at me from the shore and I splashed water onto your torn jeans. The moon, a sliver of armor borrowed from a knight, stabbed below onto your pale face, so all I could see was your bright smile and piercing blue eyes peeking out from beneath your baseball cap.
You were a fleeting moment in my life that fate decided to let slip between my fingers no matter how hard I tried to grasp on to your presence.
I remember when we first met and I ascended the antebellum stairs that led to your house, bountiful rose bushes lining each step, lacing the porch with a decadent smell. I stumbled through the front door and saw you shooting pool and I remember thinking how pretty you were and how much I don’t like pretty boys. I like men with distinction and character to their face, maybe a scar marking their cheek as a badge of ruined scar tissue and honor. Or a guy in battered jeans and a gun hanging out his back pocket. But you were pretty; shockingly cobalt eyes and soft blonde hair that swooped to the side of your head like you had a permanent gust of wind cooling your face.
I don’t believe in love at first sight because it sounds foolish, but sometimes you meet someone and even if you don’t know why or for how long, you know they’ll matter to you. So, maybe that’s why four years later and every feeling about you evaporated from my body, every time I hear your name, I still think of your red truck with the cracked bumper smashed in and laying in your bed after a long night, strumming your acoustic guitar. The snapping wires senselessly disturbing the wooden body with each pluck; the beginning to what became an inevitable bridge of lyrics, beaten and overused.
I think of how you always smelled like vanilla and Oakwood and how that scent clung to my clothes so the thought of you lingered with me for hours. I think of the looks on your roommate’s faces when they found out I was a freshman and how you were always embarrassed to say my age in public. I remember rolling over in the morning and seeing heavy bags under your eyes, I remember thinking they looked like little lilacs sprinkled across a field. I wanted to pluck them from your porcelain skin along with the weight carried behind them. I remember sitting in bed watching the Grinch in mid-December 2009 when I told you I was moving across the country and wasn’t coming back. I remember how you held me a little tighter and the way your eyes fell at the airport when you said “see ya later” and not “goodbye.”
I don’t think of you often, so don’t be too flattered, I just have to pause, every time I hear your name.