I wanted to live in the 90s.
I wanted to go to the movies with Jamie and Liz, and shovel handfuls of popcorn into my mouth, and gush about dating Johnny Depp even if he had scissors for hands. We would’ve had seven posters of him between the three of us.
I wanted to stick colorful butterfly clips in my hair and grin as they shimmered in the sun. The red ones would have been all the rage then.
I wanted to throw my arms around Mom and Dad on the last day of senior year and thank them for their constant support and their unconditional love, love, love. They would try to play it cool, but I would see the tears.
I wanted to march across the stage in a black cap and gown and shake hands with the Dean of the business school. He would smile at me, and I’d grin back, and there would be a promise in that curve of my lips—a promise to not let him down.
I wanted to tell Professor Lions that I wouldn’t have made it through my thesis without her, and Professor Garza that I’d be sure to keep in touch. They would give me their home numbers on small slips of paper, and I’d write them neatly in my purple address book.
I wanted to hang my diploma right above my desk, next to my Bon Jovi poster, so I could stare up at it whenever I felt powerless (and stare at Bon Jovi whenever I wanted to daydream). I would catch myself glancing at both of them every day.
I wanted to scream all the lyrics at the Pearl Jam concert with Jamie and Liz and wipe the sweat off my brow under the flashing lights. I would meet the gaze of the cute guy in the row behind us and blush, and blush even harder when he’d give me his number.
I wanted to pause right outside my door on our first date and close my eyes. I’d lean into the palm Daniel held against my cheek, and press my lips to his, and wonder if I was doing it right.
I wanted to rip open the newspaper and fill out job application after job application, swallowing the sinking feeling of failure with every rejection letter I ripped open, riding the wave of euphoria with every interview I landed. I’d make them all proud.
I wanted to run to the phone and twirl the cord around my fingers when Daniel called. I’d try to calm the butterflies in my stomach and learn how to breathe when I heard his voice.
I wanted to eat my favorite burger with Mom and Dad at Planet Hollywood, and blink back happy tears when they congratulated me on my new job offer. I’d wrap my arms around them when they surprised me with a small chocolate cake decorated with strawberry frosting—my favorite.
I wanted to walk down the aisle in a long-sleeved white dress, my arm tucked into Dad’s. I wanted to meet eyes with Daniel like we’d done at the concert so long ago. I would promise my love and my life to him, forever, and he would promise back.
I wanted to dance the night away and drink up all the love, love, love.
I wanted to fall asleep on Daniel’s shoulder as the plane jostled us on our way to the island. We would hike through the vibrant jungles and swim in turquoise waters, and drink red wine under the full moon.
I wanted to hug my boss when she offered me a promotion and scream in excitement as soon as I got to my car.
I wanted to feel Daniel’s arms around me and breathe in his blazing smile as he twirled me in the air. He would press his palm to my cheek, and I would lean into it, and he would whisper how proud he was.
I wanted to hold up the pregnancy stick and feel my heart explode into a million, beautiful fireworks. I would tell Daniel that evening, and he’d shout out in surprise and pump his fists in the air.
I wanted to give Mom and Dad t-shirts that said “World’s Best Grandparents” and watch their eyebrows raise in confusion. I’d laugh when the realization finally dawned on their faces, and cry with them when the tears started to fall.
I wanted to paint the nursery with Daniel, and hang colorful spaceships above the crib, and place a rocking chair in the corner by the window. I’d try to sneak a Spice Girls poster on the wall, and shake my head when Daniel countered with Nirvana.
I wanted to watch Friends with Mom and Dad every week, a tradition that started from the very first episode. I would gorge myself on pizza and ice cream and my parents’ sugary laughs.
I wanted to hold my little Henrietta in my arms as Daniel kissed my forehead in the hospital bed. I’d sigh with relief and exhaustion and contentment. I’d worry about not reading enough parenting books. I’d wonder how on earth Daniel and I could do this.
I wanted to tuck her into the crib and ask all the powers of the universe to protect her, protect her, protect her.
But I didn’t go to the Pearl Jam concert with Jamie and Liz. I didn’t meet Daniel’s eyes, and we didn’t have Henrietta. I didn’t shovel pizza and ice cream into my mouth while watching the Friends series finale with Mom and Dad. I didn’t even walk across the stage in a black cap and gown.
I wanted to have dinner with my parents to celebrate my last day of college, but you decided to ignore the bartender’s pleas.
I wanted to turn left on Morrow Street, but you swerved into my car.
I wanted to live in the 90s.
I wanted to, but you killed me.