we used to walk around our neighbourhoods at 3am in the cold, wearing our hoodies and sneakers and skulk around, talking to strangers even though we didn’t speak their language and making friends with street food vendors, eating kebabs from who knows where and laughing up a storm.
we used to run to mickey d’s at midnight for a mcflurry even though it was freezing out and just lay in the grass for hours listening to the stars and trying to be one with nature, wondering who we were.
we used to read Neruda out loud and quote Dante, trying to capture all the nuances in the lilting poetry of italians, swearing the one day, we would get out of this place, and out of our heads, and one day, we would live.
we used to be all kinds of crazy, running barefoot in the snow, playing rugby in nothing more than our shorts and t-shirts, creating snowmen out of cheetos and downing flaming b-52s like there was no tomorrow, and back then, there weren’t. not many, because our days were endless.
we used to waste our summers away, hidden from the sun in dark billiard rooms and cinemas. making memories and sharing secrets that in retrospect no longer makes sense because time steals all essences of youth and who we were is a faded polaroid, sunkissed and wrinkled as angst gave way into hopelessness and finally, settled down into our bones and bodies like contentment.
we used to be bright streaks of shooting stars, blazing through earth and scorching each other with our heat and nasty words because feeling something was better than feeling nothing, and something counts. always. always.
we used to burn with the need for speed and drank away the poignant with tequilas and daiquiris and shots! shots! shots! shots! shots!
now the only shots we have are photographs in wallets that haven’t seen the light of day in years, and yesterday, i found you at the bottom of a drawer. tiny picture face forever frozen at 17 with a smile so wide, eyes squinting into a forever we didn’t quite see then.
we used to be crazy wild, with a penchant for midnight escapades and sleep that was elusive. we used to scribble poetry on the back of old receipts, used napkins, now we’ve traded up for moleskin notebooks and leatherbound journals. typing our frenzy into adventures, channeling the angst into something constructive and eschewing Neruda for Kierkegaard, trading one Joplin for another.
we used to say life happens and shite happens and it still does, but now we’re busy uncovering the reasons for the happenings and i don’t quite know if it’s leaving or living, but i realized sometime in between that we live in the in-between.
we used to be hurricanes.
destroying and destructive. self-imploding and explosive.
today, you’re sleepless in seattle or wherever you are and i’m learning to expand my universe because i’m tired of drifting. today, you’re a glimpse in the horizon, a faraway speck of dust, a twinkling reminder of who i used to be and i leave you with my empty words and emptier regrets.
regret is a lonely companion. her hands are cold and her words? empty. she reminds you of what could’ve been.
today, you are literally living in (my) yesterday, and i’m a time-traveller.
talking to you is actually talking to the past. and i don’t know how much of it is healthy, but i do know who we used to be.