Poetry & Prose

A Confusion Only Good Friends Cause

Art by Gina Yu

I miss you. 

Three words I began to fear when viewed through my slurred vision, through residual tears and layers of childhood fears encrusted with inadequacy. I mourn the fact that these words have different translations for you and I.  

I carry your brilliance around me like a cape, an impenetrable protection against those sounds, those screeches that yell, “You’re better off dead, beaten, bloodied.” 

I see you within magazine collages, letters written in bubbly purple cursive, hues of earthy greens and forest browns, crystals and raw geodes, bags of tea and Uniqlo shirts, bug stickers and boygenius lyrics. I see you within chai lattes made from concentrate and vegetarian chicken sandwiches heated in my microwave. 

I feel you in silly jokes, in comedic bits with sour punchlines that only you and I would laugh at. I feel you in craft stores when I stop and fiddle around with every brightly colored object that catches my eye and transports me to a world of unadulterated joy until I remember who I am again. I feel you the most when I go shopping and see trinkets you would love, and I have to suppress the urge to spend all my savings on the soul I adore the most. 

I hate to admit that I miss you.

Because it means I let your essence slip my mind. I left your softness to collect dust, as I let myself waste time, waste energy on things that never served me. Does the fact that you miss me mean that you yearn for my company, or will my pertinacious self-deception convince me these words you speak are delusive, untrue, that you see me as unworthy to be kept in your memory? Regardless, I want to hold you forever, like the elementary school art that has viewed the spectacle of my coming of age, my metamorphosis. Be patient with me when I ask for 10 more minutes, whether we’re on the phone or so close our heartbeats start to sync. I want these slices of time, enchanted by your essence, to last as long as my conscience permits. Allow me to etch them in the front seat of my mind where I could never lose sight of it, as you’ll never lose sight of me.