Is that you can be fine, numb, forgetful, for years. And then on a humid August night, the sound of crickets and rustling leaves lets in a flood of memories. And without a moment to blink or breath or brace yourself, you’re 12 again, sitting on concrete steps with your best friend, dreaming about the future and learning how to think for yourself and have intelligent conversation about religion and current events for the first time. You’re wearing a purple tank top and floral lavender bicycle shorts that the other kids at orchestra camp made fun of. He doesn’t. Your hair is messy and unbrushed. He gives you a hairband (why does he have a hairband?) and suggests you tie your tangles back. You do. And for one of the first times, you wonder if someone might see you as something other than homely. And then you’re 16, surprised to see him standing behind you at Fall Festival like no time has passed. Has it? He’s been in Arizona, California, down the block, just like always. ‘Come by,’ he says. You nod. You won’t visit but once. What were you thinking? And you’re 19, and your sixth grade best friend’s voice is breaking on the telephone, haltingly telling you he’s gone, that she’d seen him months before, and he’s gone now. And then you’re 26 again, and he’s still dead, and you still wish you could call him up out of the blue, the way he would do to you, and pretend it’s normal, to be expected, welcomed. Because it was. It was all of those things.
Fuck, Tyler. Some days, I forget. But then you’re here again, slipping in on the sighs of the trees, and I ache for your insight and brilliance. You told me to write, and I did. You told me to feel, and I did that, too. I felt until I was sick with overwhelming emotion. I felt until it was too much, until I needed SSRIs to stop the flood of being. I miss you, Tyler. I miss you, I miss you.