We Were Young and Free

there was this diner in indiana, the classic all-american diner with grease on the menu and the ashtray toppling over with soot, the ashtrays i’ve mentioned numerous times before not because they were great ashtrays but because pocketing one was a sentiment to life. and we sat there drinking cup after cup of coffee and smoking cigarettes like there is no tomorrow and you were sketching something in your notebook while i was taking a picture of you and embossing it into myself, edges raised high enough to pierce through. and there wasn’t anything particularly magnificent about this little shit ghost town we were in, or the generic one-for-all diner we were sitting in, or you. there wasn’t anything amazing about you and i was painfully aware of being your best friend playing your lover, but you were perfect because you were who you were, without pretense, take it or leave it, 100% you. and you were my best friend too. and here we were, heading head first into horizon, completely unaware of where we’ll end up, two 19 year old kids in a old chevy with a dog riding in the backseat atop a foot of junk, on a mission to find something bigger than us.

and i come back to this memory often. i can smell the stench of burning bacon as the waitress carried heaps on plates to the middle age lumberjack sitting in the booth ahead of us. i can picture with great detail, the teasing wrinkle in the back of her uniform, the split ends in her hair, and i can hear the drawl of her warm indifference play inside my head. but most of all, i remember how i felt sitting there looking at you doodle. all nerves and excitement and the high of possibility. the world lying in the other side of the dirty windshield was inviting us to do a dance with it, to take in every breath as if there would be no air

i saw you the other day. i was driving down 2nd street crossing avenue b when i noticed you at the intersection wearing the same blue zipper-up sweatshirt you’ve been wearing for years. i wanted to stop but i wanted to roll right past you more. i thought you were in san fran…
i kinda miss you the you i knew. the you before i broke your heart, before you became a dj, before
the raves and the drugs and the I can-dp-no-wrong ideology. you started thinking the way i used to think. we traded places, you became me and i became the you i knew, ironic isn’t it, who would have though… i miss the you who was my closest friend, i miss falling asleep on the phone, i miss having you sing me to sleep, i miss driving around in dave’s jeep making odd faces at the drivers of cars zooming by, and i miss pouring my heart out without the fear of impending judgment.

i have a habit of missing people who have become nothing more than ghosts.
i should call you, but you are a stranger now, i should call you but i know i wont.

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