Maybe the problem with you and I is that we were both born in California; we have fault lines from earthquakes etched into our bones. Maybe that’s why we’ll never be whole. You’ll keep going to parties and meeting those plain girls in dresses that you love to take home, the ones who reassure you that you never need to settle down. You can keep bouncing around like a pinball with a passport, never returning to the same place twice. I was silly to think we’d move back there together some day.
I bought a sugar skull necklace today at a flea market. I’m never going to take it off. Not because it’s too pretty, but because I like the warning it gives. Danger. Poison. It matches the Mexican wedding dress that I bought to remind me of Olivera Street with my father when I was small. I should have run away fast when I learned you were like him, with powder in your nose and gin and tonic on your teeth. Instead, I was curious. I used to love the way you drove fast on the freeway.
I fell in love with you when I thought I’d never love anything ever again for the rest of my life. Forget about having a love like my grandparents’–I was drowning myself in Shiner Bock and clogging my arteries with macaroni and cheese in your bathtub. I stopped believing in god. And I never looked back. I exhausted myself trying to come up with alternate versions of the word “nothing”.
I remember when you were too embarrassed to kiss me because you thought I was too pretty. I remember how you’d lie to my mother so that you could keep me out late. I used to love telling people how smart you were.
You can’t force someone to be your friend. I want to smash your fingers between mine and make you spend a weekend with me when we’re both home for the holidays. I want to shake you and make you accept my thousand apologies, but you’re too busy studying. For what, I don’t know. Something more important than me. I want to be the yellow bird outside your window, but I don’t know how to drown and fly at the same time.
I don’t want to feel like I owe you for putting my heart back together by tattooing my ribcage with your fingertips. I don’t want to think about your body when I’m trying to fall asleep. I don’t want to miss tickling you and sleeping in your car with your jacket on my knees. I don’t want you to watch Star Wars, or eat grilled cheese sandwiches ever again. I don’t want you to listen to music or drink whiskey. I don’t want you to forgive me. But you will.
I hate that you forgot that night on the couch, your hands on the zipper of my blue sparkle dress, your mouth in my hair, your laugh mixing with mine. I hate that I’ll never bake cupcakes with your mother again, or look at the pictures on your refrigerator. I hate your sister. I hate the words, “I’m scared,” the words, “this isn’t going to work.”
I don’t want to drive the 118 freeway and think about your car weaving in and out of traffic when you’d kiss me in the passenger seat on the way home from Disneyland. We would listen to these crappy songs on my beat-up iPod and read autobiographies in traffic and make up stories to tell our kids someday. You were every plan I made aloud in your bedroom and every secret one I kept inside my head for someday. I promise that I’ve moved on. I just haven’t forgotten. Perhaps it’s unhealthier than the double-double from In-N-Out you used to bring with you to pick me up from the airport, but I can’t just stop being your friend.
Can we please just get Chinese food and forget this ever happened?