Day 19: Discuss your first love.
I can’t tell you that I was in love with you,
but I can tell you that I loved you
as best as I knew how.
and I know you weren’t in love with me,
but I know that you loved me
as best as you knew how.
The English language is frustratingly limited
when it comes to the things that matter most.
We used to argue about that sometimes,
poured over dictionaries and thesauruses,
trying to prove that the right word does exist.
(I still believe it does.
I will learn it one day,
but not in English.)
We argued just to argue.
We were two kids not used to hearing our own voices,
not used to hearing someone else’s voice,
not used to being heard.
We held hands in the church basement,
listened to Linkin Park through shared headphones until sunrise
because you knew I never slept in new places
even though I knew you could sleep anywhere.
We went camping, and you snuck into the girls’ cabin
to give me the courage to sneak out
because I wanted to see the shooting stars
and you wanted to be the one to show me.
At the school dance, a classmate slipped
my crush a note, signed my name,
and I cried when he grabbed my arm
and was still crying when you pulled me away from him.
You let me pretend I’d forgotten to write down the homework
and you called to ask me definitions of words
you heard in song lyrics on the radio.
because we didn’t know how to say,
“I just want to hear someone’s voice.”
Growing up, my house was always so empty
but you filled it with your ring tone,
talked for hours and hours,
never let me feel alone.
We share 5 years of memories,
of looking for each other in crowded rooms,
of music concerts, of award ceremonies,
of church hymns and stairwells.
The last time I saw you
I had just graduated from college.
You had been across the US, to India, to Japan.
You hip-checked me in front of the beer coolers
and asked me the definition of a word on a label
because you still hadn’t learned
to admit you just wanted to say hello.