Things that are sweet fade. The taste of their honey-sugar dulls, and suddenly you realize you can’t taste it on your tongue anymore. Linking arms, car karaoke in the front seat of your beat-up sedan as we drive off to who knows where, the midnight ecstasy of running around campus unrestrained and carefree —
It’s ironic how you tend to see things in a picturesque, head-in-the-clouds light only after they’re gone. Back then, I only felt the damp, humid sweat and stink that pervaded the air, the mugginess of my mind mirrored in the clouds and my foggy feelings suffocating the earth. But now I remember our reflections dancing in the glass as your camera shutter went off. Our breaths mixing as we panted, running after a train we missed by mere seconds. I remember how we wandered everywhere and I thought you knew me better than anyone, but I can’t say that anymore. How I felt so utterly safe knowing I could share anything with you — now, I’m better off guarded. Sometimes I miss us so much, I feel real, tangible pain when I even think about you — but I don’t want your name to be a reminder of the gaping hole instead of the heart you built around it. I need to protect you, even though you’ve hurt me.
You left so many pieces of you with me — I’m a mosaic. I still write my “r’s” from the bottom, the way you did in the fifth grade, even though we haven’t spoken in years. Back then you were the only other person who knew what roti canai was. I never knew how exhilarating it could be to know someone else who came from a similar cultural background as me. I remember how I had terrible stage fright before our duet, but you never lost your shit because, of course, you are you. In my mind, I play back our last concert together on the nights I can’t fall asleep.
You gave me pretty stained glass, and when you left it cracked into shards. My hands get cold easily too — I joke I’m cold blooded, but maybe it’s true, because I’m too afraid of letting you warm me up.
They say some people are meant to leave when they leave, because if they left any later their last impression wouldn’t be as sweet. So, I’m sorry, but I’m done chasing you. It’s not your fault for straying away from me and not mine for not running after you. It’s not my fault for forgetting to text in the midst of life and not yours for following suit. Who’s to say I’m the one who’s left behind? Maybe I’m one of your glass shards too, maybe we’re both grieving. And somehow we’re both losers in a game we never agreed to play.
I woke up from the dream. I’m done using our past memories as a crutch. We grew apart — I’m moving on.