do you need a reason? i begin to type. Is that it?
what do you need me to say?
stupid, stupid question. I tapped my fingers against my upper lip, staring at the flashing line on the phone screen. late summer sighed through the screen.
no it's not you who needs me to tell you something, it's me. I need to. For me, but for you, because you gave me something super important today. the science fair ribbon you've saved since you were small enough for your mom to force you into cardigans. i asked you why and you smiled and said no reason. it was for a reason though, and I think I know what it is.
I swallowed, my jaw tight, then read the text over. I erased everything. deep breath.
Just say hi
TIMESTAMP 10:54 PM
TIMESTAMP 11:05 PM
m: what's up
m: are you sure?
h: lol yeah I'm sure
what are you doing?
m: laying around in my room staring at my fairy lights like they're stars
did you eat anything tonight?
m: remember the time we went for coffee
h: we went for coffee lots of times
m: but this was the time when we sat in the car and talked about the trees
yeah I remember
m: you told me you felt like you didn't deserve to be here or something
Do you remember that?
h: sry I was helping mom with dishes
m: this late?
He wasn't going to answer that. And I already knew that wasn't it anyway. I typed again.
m: heyy uh. Can I ask you a personal question
h: o boy
m: super personal
m: you ready
h: getting dvared
m: will you marry me
m: serious question
h: dang I wanted to be the one to ask you
m: too late now
h: hahah whoa
kinda watery eyed rn tbh
I think legally we're too young
m: nah I think we would just need our parents to sign the thingie
h: did you just google it?
m: or we could just wait a couple months and we'll be 18
h: you got it all figured
why are you asking me?
m: to marry me?
m: because it's a reason.
h: a reason?
m: a reason to fight the reason why you gave me that old ribbon today at school
h: I don't understand
I stopped typing. I dropped the phone into my lap and leaned back into the pillows stacked up against my headboard. I squeezed my eyes shut and a tear escaped by the skin of it's teeth.
m: I think you do
TIMESTAMP 12:18 AM
h: you don't understand
m: no but I understand you. I've grown up with you, I've eaten Pop tarts in pillow forts with you. I've climbed to the top of fire escapes to watch the sunset with you. I've heard your voice get stuck in that pitch between boy and man. I've watched your basketball practices from the bleachers. I've watched the way you play with little kids and the way you secretly feed the neighborhood cats the scraps from dinner. I know that you like breakfast late at night and that you have a falling apart collection of Jules Vern books. I know that you wear contacts and that you hated glasses. I understand that you like longboarding in the park at dusk and that you have freckles on your face and neck and back. I know that you're scared of heights and that's why you hate the ferris wheel. I understand that you pray when you walk alone because I see your lips moving and no words coming out. I know that the night is the hardest time. maybe that's why you like breakfast so late, bc it reminds you of morning.
no I don't understand IT. but YOU I understand a lot.
h: What do you want me to do?
m: nothing except think about all the other sunsets we haven't seen yet.
All the sunrises
The first kiss we've never had
h: i don't know what to say
m: you don't have to say anything
m: just stay
stay for the road trips we've never taken
the feeling of the ocean rushing through the gaps between your fingers
dressing up fancy and blowing money on tiny portions of expensive food
walking in parks with our shoes in our hands and the dew between our toes
h: but what if we never do all of these things??
i paused, my fingers just above the screen.
m: but what if we do?
what if you stay
stay for running away and getting married. Me wasting money on a chanel lipstick for the occasion and getting it all over your face
h: I'm not lying when I say you're making me cry
I'm in my bedroom with the lights off
Just listen and pretend you can hear my voice around you instead of just reading these words on a lit up screen with a half battery
h: how did you know
m: stay for the honeymoon with nothing but packs on our backs and dreams in our heads
Stay for whispering "oh my gosh we're married" on the plane
For the nights I'll be with you
All the nights I won't let the nightmares have you.
TIMESTAMP 12:30 AM
m: stay for the cake in our freezer.
for buying our first place
having a lawn out the front to watch the stars
stay for fourth of July
for dancing in the driveway
for autumn leaves and bleached out Polaroids
stay for the day I tell you we'll be three
And the tiny fingers that might resemble yours
stay for picking out names
And buying a vw bus and going to all the national parks
for rainy days in
reading her picture books
who says it will be a her?
m: why don't you stay and find out
why don't you stay for the hundreds of
things we could do together
stay to take the earth by storm.
i was almost asleep when my phone vibrated. i looked down.
but it's just
m: i know
i know its hard
just focus on the next thing
h: like what?
what else should i stay for?
other than you and everything
I thought for a moment. then i smiled and thought about the sound of his laugh.
m: stay for breakfast
nothing big, nothing fancy. almost was going to revise this to make it something more, but i wrote it on a long drive as just a stream of thought, and i felt it deep when i typed it. so i thought i'd just let it be. i wrote this as a part two of this post i wrote a year ago. i imagine the characters to be the same.
i was just thinking about how you never know when that text you're almost about to not send could really change something around for someone. don't be shy when showing kindness... the world needs more people who aren't afraid to show someone they care & that they're worth it. because every single one of us has so much to stay for. so when you get that urge to say something or reach out, maybe just do it. it may just be exactly what they need in that moment. you never know.
love you guys so so much