I remember feeling safe. I’ll always feel safe when I cruise through those mountains, headed to my Grandmother’s tiny house on top of the hill. The air is always fresher, the stars brighter. You and I used to lie in the valley and stare at the milky way, laughing about trivial things like Jason Mraz and my Sunday dress. Chirping crickets, the thick air of summer, the feeling of your chest rising and falling while the grass tickled my feet. I thought to myself that if loving another person were possible, then I loved you. I loved the way you talked softly, the way you took the curves around the mountain quickly and confidently, the way you wrote poetry for me and held my hand. The tragedy was that I only knew the look of your skin in the light of summer, but the idea of that was so beautiful to me. You were my good feeling, tucked away in the rolling hills of the town where my father was buried. I remember the first time you kissed me, I remember the first time I ever saw your bedroom, I remember the dim lights and the awkward laughs and the roughness of your 5 o’clock shadow skimming across my cheek. Each time I left that little town, I left a piece of my heart under the tree on top of the hill, where you snuck me back to my Grandma’s past my curfew too many times to count. I stared in the rearview mirror listening to melancholy songs, longing for the day that you would graduate and move to Norman with me. It was the same story every May through August, our whirlwind flings and empty promises. We turned 18, and you called to tell me that you were moving out of state for college. All of our dreams were like sand, my fingers the sieve. And you asked, “Do you think things would have been different if you lived here with me? Do you think we’d stay together, move away together?” I wanted to say yes, but my heart knew better. I still had a lot of growing to do, and your wings stretched further than mine. I knew it was time for you to leave. “None of that matters now,” I replied “but I am so happy for you.” You hopped on that plane five years ago and haven’t returned since. I still go back to our place every summer, but it feels empty now. I drive over those hills and feel the familiar ache. I have the urge to call you, but I never do. And when I take the old dirt road to the cemetery where my father is buried, I glance to the left and up the mountain, wondering if I’ll ever see your truck creeping down the driveway from your mother’s cabin in the woods. I know that I won’t, so instead I just smile when I think of you, and turn the other way.
If I lived in NYC I’m pretty sure I’d just walk around listening to Vampire Weekend & drinking boba tea all day long.