Staring at my reflection in the mirror, I thought I caught a glimpse of you. Your dark brown hair blowing in the breeze, and just as you were about to look at me I blinked. You were gone. My heart began to pound as I tried to catch my breath. It had been too long since I had seen you. I almost forgot what you looked like. Now all the images come flying towards me like a swarm of bees that I can’t fight off. I fall back into that day at the beach, those nights in the woods, and that road trip out west. All the places we went, all the places we should have gone are only a part of my past now.
I remember the first time I saw you. It was a Tuesday afternoon when I was fifteen, and I was at school laughing with my friends when you caught my eye in the reflection on the window. It sounds like such a short time ago, but I feel as though I’ve aged a lifetime between then and now. By that first sight of you I was intrigued. You had this sense of self-confidence and mystery that drove me crazy for you. The strange part was though, that I felt as though I knew you already. Even as we got to know each other over the next couple of weeks, something about you seemed familiar.
Turning out the bathroom light, I walk outside to the balcony of my house, and gaze off into the deep woods that surround me. Thinking about where you might be now, I light a cigarette to pass the time and thoughts easier. I inhaled deep the first time to make sure no memory of you surfaced until I was ready to deal with it. Often times I regret that you introduced me to cigarettes, but more often I relish in the smooth buzz that overtakes my mind with a few single puffs.
The first time you gave me a cigarette was the third time we hung out, and I knew that from there only trouble would come. We were sitting on the ledge of a bridge overlooking a highway and for the first time I felt like I actually knew you. It was a strange feeling, because it felt like you still knew me even more. You asked me what I wanted to do withy life, at fifteen I thought I had some things figured out, but you ruined all those plans. With every answer I gave you, you had a question that challenged my reasons for wanting to pursue those things. In the end, I hated you for all the truth you brought to my eyes, but looking back now, I think you were the best thing for me.
A breeze gently blows through the woods as I finish my cigarette and sit down on the chair behind me. Beams of sunlight break through the protective leaves of the forest, and scatter light across the ground below me. It reminds me of the last time I saw you in person. That Friday night when it felt like our worlds were finally colliding. Everything I knew about you felt like a lie. I knew though that being that happy would’ve never lasted, I just didn’t think I would feel this empty after three months.
It hurts to continue each day reconstructing who I am after feeling so safe and secure with you. I know why you left. You were too good for me, but also the worst for me. We were a fire that started to burn down the world, but we both loved too much to watch it go to ashes. You didn’t just leave. You dismantled my thoughts, my emotions, my everything.
I walk back to the mirror and look at myself one last time wondering what made me do it. What made me destroy you? I look at myself and I almost see you. I know you are hiding because I told you to stay away. I close my eyes and ask you one more time. Slowly my eyes open and at first I feel and look the same. I blink and then I see you. I see me.