“Hey,” you cock your head to one side, trying to get me to look up.
“Hey.” I do look up, but only for a second. Whenever we used to talk about serious things, I would stare at my feet. It used to help me focus on whatever I was saying.
“How are you doing?”
“That’s a loaded question these days. How are you?”
“I’m all right.” You’re looking past me, looking at something I know you can’t see. Rain on your glasses. “Same as always.”
“Yeah,” I sigh, pulling out a pack of cigarettes. Glad I remembered my lighter. You start to say something then stop yourself. Still rain on your glasses. You reach up to take them off, start to make them clean.
“I’ve been eating a lot of ice cream.” You’re smiling the way you always do, without any teeth showing. Your eyes are so round and I think about how we used to press our faces together. Your eyes looked like blue wings. They look like wings right now, too.
“I believe it.” I do not mean to smile but I do. I smile uncontrollably. I’m not thinking about how much I’ll regret the smiling later. The thought of me a few hours from now, sitting in my room with my mouth closed, remains distant and unimportant.
“I miss you,” I want you to say, so I can tell you that I’ve missed you so much, too; that I think about you every day, Danika, that I want to kiss you until I forget I am alive. But you don’t say anything, so I don’t say anything, and you’re still looking past me at something you can’t see.
“It’s hard being alone,” I finally say. At first your only response is to breathe.
“I know, Em. Everything is gonna be okay.” You put your hand on my shoulder and I want to pin you against the wall, kiss you so hard that our past and future break, but I don’t. I shut my eyes and wait for the moment to pass, for your hand to move, to fall asleep again. I think about all the times you’ve seen me around recently, sleep-walking. You take small, loud steps. I stare at the ground for a long time, but when I finally look up to respond, you’ve left.