Every birthday candle, every loose eyelash, every star, every single 11:11 has been wasted on you. I just want to see you again. You don’t deserve it. It’s just practically muscle memory now. I clench my fist and hold my breath and just wish.
I check the time before I go to bed and it’s 11:10.
One blink later it’s 11:11.
I turn out the lights, lie down, and close my hand tight.
I dream about your face. We’re yelling at each other, but I can’t hear you or me and it’s just angry faces and thick tension in the air. It’s hazy like all dreams are, but I can see your face so clearly I think it’s real.
You’re closing your eyes now and then finally I hear you.
I can’t do this anymore.
And then you’re gone.
I find a penny on the way to work, wedged between a sidewalk crack. It’s so dirty it’s green, but I press my lips to it anyway, closing my eyes for a fraction of a second.
I stuff it in the already overfilled pocket of my jeans before standing up again, returning to the reality of life.
I walk into work slowly, imagining my footsteps echoing for eternity. Nobody hears me come in over their thoughts though. My office is small and still undecorated.
I put the penny on the desk and cross another day off my calendar before walking, slowly again, to the break room to grab a coffee.
Bitter and black (like myself).
It’s still sunny when I walk outside again, and I breathe in the fresh air like I’ll never breathe it again.
I’m humming when your face is suddenly in my line of vision. I blink twice.
It’s not like you’re dead, but wishes aren’t supposed to come true.
I walk towards you slowly.
(Just to see if you’re real.)
We just about bump into each other, but you stop when you see me, as if you were looking for me.
You’re talking, but just like my dream, I can’t hear you.
Unlike my dream, I don’t reply.
Unlike my dream, you’re talking softly.
My hand moves before I do, and it touches your face.
Your words stop and so does my heart.
I stroke your cheek with my thumb for a moment.
My arm flies back to my side where it belongs. I blink again, and my heartbeat resumes. You inhale sharply.
How are you?
I don’t answer. How can I?
How am I? How can I even be without you?
I shake my head slowly.
Where’d you go? I whisper it so soft, I almost think you can’t hear me. You open your mouth and close it again about a million times, give or take. You look so sad I almost want to hug you.
Sorry? I cut you off. You always hated when I did that. It doesn’t matter what you hate though, does it?
You swallow and then you nod. I swallow too, but I tilt my head instead of nodding.
You pull me into a hug and I hate myself because I don’t pull away. I let you hold me for a second, unmoving and almost not even breathing. You pull away.
All the words in the world combined couldn’t describe your eyes as they’re on me right now, and all the broken things in the world could never compare to my heart.
I reach out to you again, just one more time.
(Are you still real?)
You don’t fade away.
It’s three days before I find something else to wish on- a small perfect ladybug crawling on the door handle. My fingers pause midair before I turn it. I don’t even know what to wish for anymore.
I make sure to open the door without touching the ladybug, and I hope someone else gets their wish, and I hope it comes true, and I hope it isn’t as disappointing as it was for me.
I hope, not wish.
I’m done with wishing.
I see you again at the end of a workday, and you’re sitting on a bench right outside. I trip on untied shoelaces, and you stumble up to catch me quickly. I push your arms away.
Your eyes plead to me and the whole world shakes.
I miss you are the words written plain in my heart but You should go is what comes through my lips.
You let go of my shoulders that I didn’t even realize you were still holding, and you leave.
And suddenly I’m cold.
It feels like every time I happen to look at the clock it’s 11:11 and every time I look out into the night sky there are shooting stars waiting to be wished on. I do the same thing every time. I close the blinds, I look away, and I wait for it to pass.
I fall again as I walk out of work, and you aren’t there to catch me this time. I fall a little hard on the pavement, but I stop the fall with my hands. It stings.
The pain is lost in my head though, because I’m eye to eye with a penny so dirty it’s green. I pick it up and turn it over in my fingers, sitting up on the ground.
I look at the skin of my hands, scarred now with little dots of red.
And suddenly I know why they call it f
in love. It’s because it leaves bruises and scratches that might never heal. It’s because it leaves little imprints of memories and moments in your soul that’ll never go away.
I get up and stuff the penny in my already overfilled pocket, close my eyes, and wish to forget.