The fireflies we caught

You are the fireflies,
laughs in the bodega,
the skip under my step,
the late night in a city we don’t know.
You are the butterflies in my stomach,
the numbness in my arms,
the smile aching on my face.
And no, you aren’t only these things,
but they hold pieces of you
that will never be lost.
No matter how many more memories
I build on top of them,
or how much I sometimes wish
you weren’t.
You are every late night phone call,
every FaceTime ring,
and all of the texts I prayed
were from you.
For the entirety of my life,
you are the happiness
I will search for,
because you are the fireflies
we caught that night.

Orbits.

I wanted you to contact me. I wanted us to cave again, even if it meant distance and heartbreak and confusion again. That was better than longing for something I cannot see.

No, it’s not fair, and yes, everything would have to change, but it’d be worth every ounce of trouble for me to have you.

The way I felt about you made me question if I ever loved before. And living beyond my time with you was like watching a shooting star blaze by in the night sky and then watching the void just for a glimpse of something more miraculous to come.

I don’t know how to handle my life without the light you gave me. As my life screams signs pointing to you, I wonder if your life returns arrows in my direction.

I closed this chapter with you. I thought it was over and my lesson learned, but what if your orbit centers near me? What would we do if our star illuminated the world? What if we could see and it was all clear?

Aches.

It was an old ache. An old, rumbling, roaring noise of an ache. The kind of war-wound type of ache you only know exists if you live through the pain and it’s slight recovery from the living hell of your life to the feeling that lingers and acts up when the weather does.

You were that ache. You left me different and there’s no denying it, and I wish you hadn’t, but you did.

Like the thunder of a summer storm, I felt the pain shuttering throughout my body. It started in the cavity of my chest and burned slowly to my throat, to my knees, and out to my extremities.

I watched my body decay to my feelings for you and acknowledged my embarrassment to myself when I admitted it resurfaced. I missed you, and there was nothing I could do to fix this old wound without gashing it wide open.

And that’s where I stand now. Wounded, but living. Living, but aching.

Light.

You have to remember the bigger things. Where were you two years ago? Who was the most important person in your life? Did you wake up early to watch the sunrise like you said you would?

I need you to do something, and it’s not for me, it’s for you. You need to wake up. Take one day, just one day, to gift yourself, and go.

Order that burnt diner coffee and drive, or take the bus, a train, an Uber—it doesn’t matter. Go to that place you last felt at peace, and sit. Get your pants wet with the morning mist by the river, lean into the rock of a subway car, or recline in your parked car in that place you call your own. Wherever you are, take it all in.

Unplug yourself and settle into your solitude. Welcome the dark thoughts that elude you all day and haunt you at night. Live. Breathe. But look at where you are and feel the life moving inside of you. That’s your momentum to survive. That’s what is telling you that you can conquer those dark shadows.

You’re stronger than you think you are. What’s gotten you here will get you where you want to be, but for right now you’re meant to be in that wet grass, or heading north through Manhattan, or staring off, out of your car, into the flashing lights that catch your attention in the place you call your own.

Neither of us knows where you’ll be in two years, and I can’t tell you who will be the most significant person in your life. But I can tell you to watch the moment light first hits the Earth. It’s like watching the planet fill with life—a refreshing breath that reminds you that you’re alive. It reminds you that this planet is as much yours as it is anyone’s, and that one properly aimed stream of light can banish any shadows of the mind.