Saturday, 15 July 2017

Brief encounters

fireworks image
Six years ago, I never thought we would still know each other.

We started off as strangers turned friends, turned friends with benefits, then nothing. Then back again. We met through a friend, neither of us interested in knowing each other. We've had a lot to hide over the years, as much from each other as everyone else.

Our brief encounters gave us plenty to remember. It's too easy to get drunk on attention and high on nostalgia. Friendship is a fix.


Through secrets and scandal, broken hearts and little victories, we've been there. You've seen it all, but we still build more bricks to the wall between us, knowing it will bruise us eventually.

The truth is that memory lane breaks my heart, and good memories pinch me the most. The intimacy between us comes from history and chemicals, and we know each other well. I'm not scared of the good memories, like I am with everyone else.

Tall and towering like an old monument, you've always seemed a little threatening. I trust you, except for when I don't. We were never made to be anything more than what we are.

We're friends, the real kind of friends. So I can say you're cocky, annoying and self righteous, because you can say I'm dramatic and needy. I can be moody and intense, and you can be forceful and narrow minded. We like each other anyway.

Sometimes you don't let me in, maybe you do this with everyone and maybe we got a little too close to trouble. Yesterday was one of these times.

We've had this fight before. I tell you I care, that you matter. You're too afraid to tell me even that. For someone like me, shutting me out is the most painful punishment. I wonder what controls your locks.

I like to write about boys who never became men, about boys who wanted to be gods, and boys who broke gold hearts like mine.

I think I like to write about you the most. You're never really a villain, and you're never really a hero. You're always somewhere in between. I like that we either care too much, or too little, but never in time. We miss cues and signals, it seems like we are always out of sync. I like the duality, and I think I like the tragedy.

Not the obvious, devastating kind of tragedy, it's not the kind I'm used to. But something far more delicate, a more exquisite kind of pain. Barely there, but a pearly scar nonetheless. The kind that we only remember when we touch it.

Maybe I think you're better than you really are. Maybe you are the person I know you can be, but that person is vulnerable. You're not as callous as you seem, at least, not to me. I know for a fact you wouldn't hurt me again, but we both know that you could.

I've noticed our habits. We often disagree, pushing buttons and shrugging it off, with turning points arriving in time for the summer. We come back for the autumn, with regenerations of ourselves and renewals of pride. We both have egos and secrets in stubbornness that seem to wane by October.

My perception of you is always finely tuned, being close to you requires this. I remind you of things you'd rather forget.

"I don't do that anymore", you tell me, as if I'm some sort of habit, a symptom of bad behaviour. You'll act like I'm just one of the many.

Did you forget? I remember the day you said you wouldn't.

We were sat somewhere familiar to us, trying to discuss our latest drama. These dramas happen maybe once a year, but they strain us when they do.

Sometimes, friendship is cloudy. Built on more than camaraderie and less than love, we're shaped by the in-betweens. Brief encounters made us.

I tell you this. I tell you it's different to the rest and that's why I need it. You know me darkly, and I rely on you. I need your sturdy shoulder, a balanced voice unafraid of telling me what I need to hear. You know you're familiar to me, you know I'll take it from you. Don't mistake gratitude for limerence.
limerence image

I kept hold of my coffee, staring at dry foam on white china. Frustrated, I wrapped a black hair tie around my wrist. I know you'll perform your favourite act at any moment, the kind where you disappear.

You knew I needed to know I was important. Sometimes, it can feel like we're around to serve each other's egos. It's so elementary, so shallow. I need to hear that you care sometimes, because I haven't forgotten the times before when you didn't. I know this has less to do with me, and more to do with you. I hope that's why you won't say it.
Sometimes my mind does wander. I wonder if your hands still feel cold, or if we've run out of time and chances to say we're sorry. I think about how you only drink tea or lattes now, but how peppermint mochas still taste like you.

I think about how suit jackets and words like "treacle" belong to you, and how sparks flew on cold days in Novembers gone by. I think about heavy coats and Christmas parades, while we hid in coffee shops on Sundays. I think about how much you've changed, and how I want you to be happy one day.
I'll tell you why you matter, because I'm okay with letting you know. I remember who I used to be when you're around, you remind of the person I was so determined to become.

People say I'm that person anyway, but you make me feel that way. All good friends do. You matter because I took a chance on you in believing people might change, and you proved that they could.

"You need me." You say it with a smile, but you're so dismissive of the fact you need me, too.

Your arrogance has always been astounding, but I notice how careful you are with the space between us. I know you better than this.

In the last year, you've seen me start to cry. You've witness me lose my mind, and seen me find my way back. You've heard my distress signals, and accepted the ugly in me.

Because you care, maybe more than you want to admit. Sometimes, I want to hear it.

I do like to save the day sometimes, and therapy has taught me I like to do a little bit of rescuing. I won't rescue you, because you wouldn't let me if I tried. Our friendship wouldn't survive.

Twin water signs protected by stubborn smirks and smart mouths, we're too articulate for our own good, but we know what this is.

I'm not sure you're aware of why you're an interesting character to write about. Grandeur dreams and a Gatsby complex get the best of my curiosity. It has to keep getting better for you, and I like to watch the show. I roll my eyes at you so often, I'm surprised my eyes haven't fallen out of my head.

You throw your head back when you laugh at something I say, it reminds me how easy this can be.

When conversation gets too serious, you've perfected a stare so defensive, so cold. Being your friend means I can't feel the chill. You push, and I pull, and its a tug of war so frustrating that it always just ends with white flags dressed in a laugh.

6 years ago, we were thrown together by circumstance.

5 years ago, you were someone I could have loved.

3 years ago, you said I got away.

Last year, I think maybe we figured some of it out.

Yesterday, I just wanted you to say you cared. Words break us and bind us.

I've gone through the worst year of my life, and so I'm perhaps overly sensitive, and over cautious. I need to know that people are around me for a reason. That's all I wanted, and maybe one day you can give that to me.

I'll say it one more time in case you didn't hear me, in case you disappear.

You changed my life.