I try to look cool like the girls I’ve seen you drive around before. Trying to pretend the sweat beading my forehead is my natural dew and I’m glowing like the girls that are on the covers of the magazines you keep hidden in a box under your bed so your mother doesn’t find them. This– right here– is what people sing about on that playlist of love songs you gave me. Real music with a message that is too complicated for anyone else to understand. I think I am beginning to outgrow all my friends. But when I talk to you you introduce me to so many new things, you’re the smartest person I know.
We take long drives on the weekends and during the weekdays you show me the best places to sneak off campus, we sit in your car and I stare at the lines of your face until the gray smoke you blow stings my eyes, but I don’t mind, I think I’d sit comfortably in the seventh layer of hell if it meant I could sit with you. Sometimes I wish we could be that far from everyone and I wouldn’t have to listen to everyone’s opinion but they just don’t know you as I do.
“You’re not like anyone I have ever met before.” My body went numb when you said that, every hair on edge. It felt like taking a deep breath before diving into water. Days in the sun with you are forever where I want to be.
The wind starts to blow colder and we are no longer laughing with the windows down. Even though summer is over I still have you to keep me warm as I watch frost slowly creep on the windows.
Leaves fall and trees become barren and I want to say everything is the same but things look so much more different now that the sun isn’t in my eyes. I have to cover up to protect myself from the chill– but nothing has left me shivering more than facing your cold indifference. The girls who came before me watch me walk down the halls with knowing looks as pitiful frowns grace their identical lips. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and realize how similar my frown has become to theirs. I drown myself in layers upon layers, but I still feel as bare as the trees who have been robbed of their leaves.
Trees begin to stir back to life as spring comes in full bloom and I see you picking green girls not telling them you have no interest in them once they become ripe and will leave them to rot in the dirt. But, it is nice to see the flowers and leaves come back to the once-dead trees. What was once dull and gray has been brought back to life– but the dead leaves are still on the ground, staring at the foliage that is as green as their envy
Spring passes, and I walk through the summer heat and you slow down beside me and offer a ride. I say yes, I don’t know why, but I’ve done things that don’t quite make sense when I’m with you. Maybe you missed me terribly during the winter too and the spring fruit you devoured didn’t satiate your cravings. Maybe you had to try it all before you realized right beside me is where you should be.
I hiss as my thighs make contact with the hot leather and the heat makes sweat drip in my eyes and I feel so terrible the whole ride I can’t believe I ever enjoyed this. I look at you and see that too many days in the sun have deepened the lines on your face and leathered your skin. I want the summer to fill me with sickening joy like before. I want to feel as bright and colorful as the leaves and flowers that cover our landscape, but the foliage from last summer has died and fallen off. The leaves that hang on the trees now are new, the flowers have bloomed new petals. It is summer again but I am no longer a sweet summer child.
I tell you to drop me off a few blocks from my house, and you can’t understand why I don’t find joy in the same things we used to do before. I can’t help but feel a twinge of pity that I feel for you. Poor Peter Pan can’t understand why I want to leave Neverland. But, more than that– I can’t even imagine how silly I must’ve looked driving around next to you.