Category Archives: Chapter 6: Myanmar

ice cream & cigarettes

summer days

summer days

Singed edges of soft yesterdays sat wearily alongside sharp defining moments. Those moments broke and tore us to shreds. They shaped and changed us, under the cool skies of summer. They made us into all we became.

But that was then.

Many years had passed. Time had left a collage of translucent memories etched into my mind. Memories from a lifetime ago – now old, and faded, and worn.

I’d harnessed your colour, the light that was you, and I carried it with me everyday. And in moments where I could be still, I would let you set me free. I felt stronger for having known you.

I had held your hand, in many moments gone. And I had kissed your tears, and healed your hurts. I had given you my shoulder, in stolen places, and had listened long after the sun fell and revealed the darkness of night.

I remembered the way we shared ice cream by the poolside, on hot summer days. And how we would run off to sneak cigarettes behind the shed, where your hand would brush against mine for just a little too long, leaving my skin flushed and hot. Young skin. Smooth skin. Young hearts. Smooth hearts.

I remembered the countless nights we would lay, cheek to cheek, with our backs against the earth and look up. And we would gaze into forever, and lose ourselves in star-studded brilliance. Grounded, yet drifting. We were dreamers. Together we would pull apart life and all its simplicities, its complexities, its flaws and its beauty. And then we would put it back together, just the way we wanted it.

I remembered those moments so well. I remembered the way your skin felt against my skin and the way your strength felt against my softness. Those moments were our secret, and allowed us to hide away from the world and the pressures it placed on growing young beings.

And in those moments I knew the world waited. I knew there were bigger things, for both of us. And you knew it too. But now I know, it was because of you I felt that way – that the world could be mine if I wanted it. But I was young, and scared. And you were young, and scared.

I looked the other way. And that was goodbye, although I didn’t know it at the time. Had I known, things might have been different.

Perhaps in that moment, our destinies were already decided. I will never know for sure.

Time passed and we grew. There were people on the outside pushing and pulling and you drifted, or I drifted. Either way, we were suddenly far apart.

Many summers passed. Months became years and the distance between us grew even more. Though in my heart I held you near, even through those times where I was lost, and you were lost.

But eventually I was found, and you were… found.

That day, the phone rang. You were gone. And there were so many things I wanted to say to you. I wanted to slap you awake and go back, to all those years before and tell you that I loved you, and that I would be there for you. I wanted to slap myself, that younger version of me who had not known what to say, or how to be there.

But I couldn’t go back.

My world spun and everything in that one single moment stretched out into a slow-motion movie. The earth seemed to crumble beneath my feet. Everything solid became fluid. And suddenly there was only me, the great chasms of the ether, and my breath…

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

I think of you still. You taught me about love. And how to be a good friend. For that, I thank you.

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