the wiry smile and hazel eyes. curly hair that would never grow longer than an inch. a grade above but the same age. an imagination that surpassed my own. that was him. my elementary school friend.
the day he pulled down my pants in front of the whole playground while I was on the monkey bars, I was a little bit angry, but I let it slide. It wasn’t his fault, I just wasn’t paying attention. running around playing a game of pretend we would “become” our favorite characters, acting them out and creating plots. he would always be the hero while I was always the sidekick. but that wasn’t his fault either. I was always the one who stepped aside for others to take the lead. and I think I still am.
he was a boy scout, donning badges that I could have never gotten: archery, fishing, hiking, the list goes on. he sells overpriced popcorn to strangers while I couldn’t focus on the task at hand, opting instead to look around and tell people strange facts about manatees. what was it about those sea cows anyways? something about how lovably clumsy they are, floating around the water while seeming like they don’t even belong there. how they eat lettuce and chew with lulled eyes, almost ready to fall asleep at any moment. I almost envy them.
when I left, he cried. he made me promise to keep in touch with him even when I was across the country. I pinky-swore. but that’s all I remember of him. I want to remember, but I can’t. the memories are too far-gone, like a ball that you kicked in the wrong direction. you chase and chase and chase, but you can never quite catch up.
the stars feel so close that you reach out to touch them, only to realize they’re drifting away by the light-year, shedding ancient lights down on you from above. and ganymede orbits around jupiter, bearing wine to his lord and wishing that he could break free. wishing for something more than what he was.
suspended in a sea of memories, I’m a manatee. and all I want is to be able to breathe. to taste the childhood that I once had. to grasp hold of the memories that are slowly slipping away. I want to meet you once more, but it’s too late. time is too far and too fast.