Late at night, you sit in complete darkness on your twin mattress, surrounded by a nest of blankets, your socks thrown to the other end of the bed and your laptop resting in front of you. The sterile blue glow of its screen is casting onto your face. The only clothing you have on is an oversized t-shirt with a retired famous R&B singer on the front and dainty panties (that you were embarrassed buying in H&M because the male cashier fondled them before scanning). Your stomach pokes from the bottom of your t-shirt, the stomach you spent years being insecure about. On some days, you still hate the way it sticks out in your low rise jeans. And your braids, around 2 weeks old, are pulled back into a low bun and tickle the back of your neck. You lay on your back with your earbuds connected to your computer. Then that one song comes on and immediately tears brim your eyes.
That song makes you think of hugging your best friend goodbye and the broken promises of people who claimed to love you.You think of hiding in the bathroom and sitting on the cold damp tile while the shower ran. The hot water pounding against the tub floor like little pellets and steam poured out the tub walls and fogged the mirror while you just stared at your toes. Back to the spring of 2018 and jumping on your friend’s trampoline, laughing for no reason while your insides did flips on their own. Being curled up on your friend’s couch, watching Mama Mia in an oversized T-Shirt and shorts from Justice. Thinking about how white this was, but not caring at the time because it wouldn’t be till years later that someone would call you white washed for how much you loved that movie. Makes you think of boarding a plane and moving away from the place you knew as home and how that constant homesickness that weighs on you everyday, like a lingering sour taste on your prickly tongue. You think of the countless paragraphs you considered sending but never did because you were afraid of what life would be like without him, and that now just remain locked in your notes app. You think of driving late at night and how the passing strangers turn into shady figures without the illuminating light from the afternoon sun. And seeing couples holding hands walking underneath garden lights and you wonder what that felt like. You think of the person who taught you to love, and the person who you grew up with and how much you miss them. You think of going to 7-Eleven at 3 a.m. with your best friend, wearing only flannel pajamas and a bonnet to cover your braids. How quiet and still it was without the busyness of people and traffic, how the breeze brushed against your cheeks but you were warm because of your fuzzy christmas socks. How you ran in the road when no cars were around which put you into danger, but it was ok because the two of you were able to pretend you were in a corny coming of age movie. You think of visiting your uncle in the hospital and how you used to play board games together and try to ignore the fact that all he could consume was liquids and crackers, and how you could see him get weaker by every visit, but still refused to believe he was going to die. You think of driving home from school on the afternoons between the months of March and June, how your mom would pick you up and you and your siblings would belt out 2017 pop songs and all the worries of your siblings sickness and your buried feelings wouldn’t matter at that moment. Then you sit there, tears pouring from your eyes, staring up at the ceiling and tracing the individual cracks with your mind as the song comes to an end. Then the next one rolls on talking about sex in the backseat of a car and drinking under the sparkling stars and the moment ends.