I miss Nicole.
I’ve been listening to the Spotify playlist we made together and sobbing over the old Brand New songs that remind me of
Justin and Bridget and hiking at night, high in the woods beside campus, searching for the monster hill we’d have to climb with our arms clinging one another to keep from falling of the face of the
side of Melanie’s drunk face next to mine, our clothes stripped on the floor next to the bed, next to the first girl I ever slept beside where I thought; “maybe I wish we were more than best friends,” maybe
I wish I didn’t love the color sea-green so much, so my lungs wouldn’t catch when I thought of Haley’s hand in mine on warm, midnights in high school, escaping our parents houses to draw our names in spray paint under park bridges, to watch each other undress only to trace her jawline
but leave no trace, no trace that I slept in your bed and for the rest of my life searched for your same blueish gray corduroy skinny jeans and Mary Jane’s from Urban Outfitters so I could be you in every step I took, be you or be the girl you told me to be when you tilted my chin to the clouds and, “keep your chin up, love,” and loved me without making it about labels
though I almost wish you would’ve, demanded I face that crater of fear I felt the day we were separated, when the bolt was nailed on my basement door and the only way I could escape was to sit on the roof with my somehow straight best friend and talk about boys
pretend to talk about boys or really talk about them and think of you and which love you were with now; the tall, skinny boy in the band that you dated for a year…I heard about the day you lost it to him, and the day you cut your hair and tattooed your knees and finally moved out of your mother’s house and stopped partying with the boys in the band and came out.
And I came out, too. And you told me if those feelings of emptiness ever came back, to come find you and you’d be with me then because somehow you’ve always been there in those moments when the thing that defines me is the thing I can’t talk about so I feel lost until I hear your voice and feel your fingertips tilt my chin up,
trace the line of my jaw
and whisper, love.