another letter i forgot to give you

by sheena tran

 

Dear lover,

 

I once loved like I forgot how to love myself

I once loved like I was sacrificial

I was dumb and young,

Under the impression we were going to live forever

Did you feel the same?

Did you love me like you didn’t know yourself anymore?

I still love you

It’s different now

But I still love you

 

I remember shoulders touching

Hands grasping onto each other’s skin

Your hands were so delicate

And mine were too bony,

Too stagnant at letting you go

Sometimes I would slip between the cracks of your fingers,

When all I wanted was to be like twisted rope around them

 

Do you remember midnight messages?

Goodnight gratitudes and fleeting frustrations?

Convoluted conversations about the future?

Remember when we had a future?

Remember when it wasn’t just about passing notes in class?

Or listening to the same music on the bus?

When it was looking into the windows of our souls?

Or carrying a bittersweet kiss on our cheeks?

 

There are still some days I miss you

Miss holding your face between my hands

Miss smiling as bright as the sun when I saw you

Miss bursting like volcano when you said my name

I loved it when you said my name

I loved it when you carried it with your voice,

Like you had the strength to lift me higher into the stratosphere

I felt so light,

Like a red lantern in an ocean blue sky

 

It’s okay

You don’t have to miss me

Don’t have to miss the way I looked at you when you weren’t looking at me

Or miss the way I filled your crevices

Filled your heart with warmth

Or when I wrote letters in the tears I shed for you

You don’t have to miss the darkest parts of me that made you spilled ink

You don’t have to miss the parts that made you smile

It’s okay,

 

But sometimes I am not

Like how I crumble into pieces whenever I see you now

Whenever you lock eyes with me,

I am locked within your chains

Under your intimidating stare

I didn’t know it would be possible for me to do that

Make you into moon goddess

I am still captivated by you,

Somehow committed to you

You are tugging on my ever-being

My waters rugged and tides overbearing

Am I not my own person anymore?

 

Maybe I’m okay with that:

Being stuck to you forever

Maybe I’m okay with that…

 

But I know I am just a burden

A parasite you want to be released from

When will you sever that tie?

Sever the red cords I’ve attached to your heart?

I am so easy to be rid of

And still,

I think you miss me

 

P.S. You should have drowned me out when you had the chance.

 

Sincerely,

Your lover


sheena is on instagram @nhoxiu17 & @sherbertsheena

morning commute

by brooke bond

 

In the dark, early

mornings of January,

two surprising friendships-of-sorts began.

 

Brompton Guy and Headphones Girl.

He arrives at the station before me,

and we chat while we wait for the train.

She walks the opposite direction of me,

and our paths cross on the same block

most days.

 

Both started with closed-mouth

smiles of acknowledgement,

nodding to say, “I see you,

up early like me.”

 

With Brompton Guy, a rainy day

kept us both under the shelter.

Proximity prompted polite

conversation about train delays,

fold-up bikes, and commuting details.

Months of that turned into

daily catch-ups on work,

holidays,

family,

and where we lived before,

occasionally riding the train together

to continue the chat,

and always ending with an enthusiastic

“have a good one!”

 

Headphones Girl smiled first,

a real smile,

so I smiled back.

A couple weeks of smiles later,

and she waved,

So I, of course, waved back.

One morning, a stumble

led to a mutual laugh.

Next time I see her, I’ll say hi.

 

I recognize other commuters:

Shelford Guy, who runs to catch his connecting train;

Blonde Girl, who sits in the same seat each day,

and on the day when two new people rode our train,

and sat in our seats,

she looked at me with raised eyebrows.

Newspaper Man, who bikes to the little shop

on Regent Street

for a coffee and a paper.

(I smiled and nodded at him yesterday,

and after a moment of confusion,

he smiled back.)

The Cute Couple, who always hurry somewhere together,

smiling,

him walking his bike

to walk beside her.

 

The familiarity of these strangers,

brought to me because of our shared early mornings,

makes me smile each day.

 

I wonder if they notice me.

 


brooke is on instagram @brooke.bond1007