After taking the train, I ran to the bus that would take me to the airport. The lady that was selling tickets kept yelling at me because I was saying how there weren’t any seats left when there were to be honest. Finally, a guy moved over so I could sit next to him, my parents squeezed next to others. When I finally put my stuff down, I realized that I was sitting next to someone from America. He just never realized that I was like him, too.
First I noticed his scent. He had that cologne that was sweet like vanilla mixed with some unknown flavor. It was wonderful and gross at the same time. His hair was on the verge of being white, and his eyes only met mine for the one second when I whispered “hi.” He was holding a book called Calico Joe by John Grisham and I’ve never heard of it. I don’t know if that makes me ignorant or whatever, but I kept reading over his shoulder. There was a lot about baseball, and I pictured myself talking to him about the book, discussing the plot, the themes, the characters. I took out Breakfast at Tiffany’s from my backpack and started reading on purpose, hoping he’d notice I was a foreigner, too, hoping he’d realize that I was like him even if I didn’t look like it. I kept putting the book back in my backpack and taking it out again, trying to find some way to show him. I pegged him as a professor at first, then a businessman. I still have no idea. I wanted to know his story—where was he from? where was he going? what was he doing here? and how did he get passed the language barrier? But I ended up falling asleep and woke up to my mom’s voice telling me to get up to let him leave, our paths moving apart forever.
And I only wish I could’ve mustered up the courage to talk to him, my stranger—Calico Joe.
he was beautiful—the most “beautiful” a guy really could be. he always had this look on his face that hinted that he had a history that no one knew about. and for that, mysterious wasn’t even strong enough to describe him. as he moved, he glowed with a certain warmth even though his skin looked hard and cold like marble. he was difficult to pinpoint and always wore a smirk. i longed to be with him, to ask him questions, to hear his untold stories. i wanted to know every part of him, all the crevices and imperfections and all the flawlessness. i wondered how he could shine so bright, how he could radiate that soft light that lured me in. sometimes he’d hide behind the darkness of the night, and it pained me when he was gone. and i’d be lying if i ever said i didn’t want to be his.
she radiated beauty. she was admired by everyone, anyone who didn’t like her had to be crazy or caught up in the stillness of the dark. and i don’t blame everyone—i couldn’t take my eyes off of her. she was perfect. she always knew how to brighten up the room, and it was breathtaking to see her dance with such grace, to see her eyes sparkle. she was unpredictable and shy. she was often hidden and those days were the worst. i didn’t know where she went or when she was coming back, but she always did. life without her would’ve been the purest form of despair, the rawest image of destitution. she was self-centered and loved being the focal point of the universe, but even with that, i couldn’t help but wish she were mine. i wanted to wake her up every day and see her smile and slowly rise out of bed. i wanted to tuck her into her blankets every night and kiss her goodnight until the stars whispered our names. i wanted to know i was hers and nobody else’s.
as the days passed and as the nights lengthened, it was too hard for them to meet. their hands strained for each other’s, but the distance was too great. and then came those rare nights when they became one and left the world speechless. they locked fingers and held each other tightly until they had to leave one another. and then they would go back to living in the distance, struggling to catch even a glimpse of the other. but each time they got the chance to meet again, it always eclipsed the last. their love was infinite. their love was limitless. their love was written in the stars.
i can’t wait for the sun to tickle my eyelashes, for her gentle touch to brush my skin in gold. i miss the sound of cicadas buzzing through the night, the cool stillness in the air when the stars gaze back at me. i long for that breeze that i can’t help but dance in, that first flash of light by the parade of fireflies that march through the sky.
i soak up every last moment of summer—from the hot stickiness to the grueling mosquito bites to those unforgettable hangouts. i am the tiki torches, the initial sting of hotness of the white sand, the smell of sea salt. i am the palette of colors in the sky as the day wakes up and falls asleep. i am the cold, juicy watermelon that dribbles from my mouth.
summer is a part of me as i am a part of it. it comes and goes, traveling fast and running far. it fleets, it laughs, it hides. it has no flaws like the infinity sign i’ve perfected on loose-leaf papers and the back of my hand. and it is everything i wish i could be.
his eyes were the color of coffee the instant after you pour in cream. they took me to that place filled with hazelnut mixed with caramel, the sweet smell of caffeine through my nose. “don’t fall too fast,” my heart would say, but i couldn’t help it. i wanted the bones of his fingers to intertwine with mine, i wanted the lure of his faint vanilla scent to drift its way over to the threads of my sweaters, i wanted his cacophonous laugh to ring in my ears until i couldn’t fall asleep at night. because sometimes when insomnia keeps me by the moonlight, when the night strangles me with its cold grip, i think of him and all that could be. i think of all the moments that never happened, the moments that i was creating for the two of us. because sometimes, as the sun shines on the other side of the world, i close my eyes and think of him and his entirety. i think of how i want to trace his spine with my fingertips, chilling my own bones with the idea of something so crookedly straight. i think of how i want my lips to press against his neck, for my head to rest on his shoulders. because sometimes when the stars are behind the clouds, i could drift away into the lull of sleep knowing that they were still there and he could still be mine.
the warmth of his palm on top of mine is a feeling i won’t ever be able to describe. when we part, my hand aches from the cold, from the loneliness it spent seventeen years living through. it’s funny how much someone can complete you. i can’t help but wonder sometimes what life was like before he came into mine. how did i survive the cold nights, knowing that i was alone? how did i watch the sunrise without him by my side? i spent my entire life telling myself that i didn’t need young love to get me through the day, that i would just end broken and hurt. but let me tell you, having somebody by your side is the most wonderful feeling in the world. i am in a constant state of free-falling, perpetually lightweight. i can wake up in the morning knowing that he cares about me the same way i care about him. i can wake up in the morning knowing that somehow the constellations aligned and they let us become one.
after a while, his eyes became the color of black coffee like the kind my dad always drinks. we lost that spark, that lust for love. we were foolish, young, and carefree. i was so stupid to let myself get entangled into his mesmerizing state of being. i was so stupid, so stupid. never trust a boy with a smile that’ll melt your heart because he’ll break it soon after. he’ll weld together all the cracks that other boys have made and he’ll make you feel whole again. he’ll make you become head over heels, lost in your own happiness. and then when you expect it the least, he’ll shatter you like the glass in front of a fire alarm. he’ll shatter you and then run because he doesn’t want the blame. he doesn’t want to live with the idea that he destroyed you. and all i can say is that now when i look at the night sky, the stars, they just don’t shine the same.
The other day in English, my friend asked me to write a poem on “what is love?”. I wrote it in his notebook and then decided later that night that I wanted a second go at it. I’m sorry if it’s super long, but I couldn’t stop the words. Everything’s a bit strange lately, and “When I Was Your Man” has been on constant repeat, but this is part 2.
to the little girl i never met,
to the little girl inside of me.
(a poem that makes no sense.)
November 16, 2012.
September 15, 2012.
August 7, 2012.
Written while doing AP Bio summer work.