Dear D

I’m pegging our first interaction as you complimenting my pink sweater in what I think was 8th grade. I recall debugging you in my own reserved, shy way. Fast forward to a year later; we’re holding hands in the middle of the mall.

You were the first friend I loved while also knowing what love means.

Our high school days were full of teenage angst, mood swings, but most importantly, the hundreds of folded pieces of loose leaf paper scribbled with blue pen. Doodles of characters you made up, the never-ending song lyrics that I had memorized; talk of boys, teachers we didn’t like, spiralling emotions. God, we were the epitome of outcast teenage girls.

I don’t know why the universe treated you so poorly. From the moment you were conceived, you were doomed. And, unlike adults with choices, you were a child and you were helpless. You were flung into a household that denied you love and spoonfed you dirt and lies. I’m sorry for the time you hid under the house in the dark. I’m sorry for all the wails against your body. I’m sorry for all the times the people you were bound to by blood turned their back on you and ignored your pleas, your whimpering eyes.

There was one day in February when we were sitting in Dunkin Donuts and you were wearing the hot pink hoodie I had given you. You started crying.

You were in the habit of lying face down on your bed and texting boys until you fell asleep. Shit, I tried to tell you. Not so much in words, I’m sure, but I tried to tell you that you deserved better than to get fucked from behind outside the public library. You deserved better. You wanted love. And they just fucking preyed on that.

God, we had good fucking times. Remember when I ran out of pot and we smoked catnip? Our weed connections were few and far between. I loved smoking with you. I wish I could remember it all, but I remember very little of it. But it brings me a bittersweet feeling.

You always wanted a baby. And now you have one. A little girl. Shit. I knew it would happen but I always hoped it wouldn’t.

Please tell me you haven’t forgotten taking a pregnancy test in my bathroom when you were 16.

Please tell me you haven’t forgotten all the obscene doodles that I would see once I unfolded the pieces of paper.

You must remember when you got shit-faced for the first time on vodka and pissed on your hamster’s grave and I tricked you into drinking water.

I dreamed about you the other night–I know it was a dream, because if it was real life, I don’t know how I would react to you. But in the dream, you were happy. You weren’t doing anything “amazing,” but you were happy. No baby. It was truly like seeing an old friend.

I think about you for a while, and then I don’t for a while.

You’ll always have a place in my heart.

 

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Drunk, After Party

I’m a solo cup of rum and butter and cider in and I feel the warmth hit my stomach like a bomb.

I just can’t escape the trenches.

I ask her, “Do you want to leave?” because, despite her sobriety, she’s nodding off on the damp stoop.

“I’m fine,” she says. That’s all she ever says.

So, okay, I go beer after beer deep.

On my third (?), a tall lanky guy who introduces himself as _____ stops in front of us. I first notice his costume; mistake it as Waldo “humping” a leprechaun but he corrects me–he’s riding a leprechaun. He comments on my t-shirt, he asks what I thought about the remake. We talk. He seems stable. Nice. Sober, because he has to drive an hour and a half home.

“You drove over an hour for this?” I ask.

Fast-forward.

The warm feeling has burned out but the inebriation in my brain is full force. I’m socially lubricated and my body is loose. I’m leaning against the wall, I’m laughing at stupid things I overhear. I’m talking to a kid who is younger than me but graduated with a four-year degree sooner than me. We went to high school together. I’m friends with his ex. I have reason to dislike him; I do dislike him.  Yet, his stupid banter and commonality between academia is much needed at this time in the night. Him and his girlfriend are even more of a social lubricant.

“Gangster.”

“Can I buy a cig off you?”

“Mugwort.”

“The competitor of Uber.”

They start playing a live rendition of “Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer and I tap my foot against the stoop.

My old neighbor, younger than me, probably has an IQ of 150, has travelled all over the world, is as lifeless as I remember him being even back when we were small and played house and I got a mouthful of sand and dirt in my mouth and he kissed me.

His house was full of secrets and dimness and smelled like sugared cereal.

I have moments of introspective drunkenness.

It hurts. Vaguely.

My ex-neighbor sort of encourages me to take a Jello shot. Sure, I’m all about having more vivid dreams. I like to remember pain. I usually forget. I swallow a slice of clementine. The Jello is slightly bitter, slightly sweet, and a vivid orange. Where’s Waldo joins me–this pleases me.

I feel dumb.

She and I go back out for one last smoke. I tell her, I’ll talk to him before we leave. Before we leave, though, he’s walking out and we’re telling him to have a good night.

There’s a certain kind of loneliness the stems from being intoxicated, even if you’re having a good time. There’s a moment–perhaps you’re in the bathroom, or you’re having a cigarette, or reaching into the fridge for another beer, or standing against the wall. But it’s there. It reaches up into your  brain and tugs on your flaws, your insecurities, your hopes, your dead dreams.

In two years, two months, two weeks, two days, two hours, this moment, this night, this experience–it will not matter.