I still remember the dark jeans I was wearing. I never wore jeans. That day I did, with a pair of sparkling flats I found in the city during my interview. I never wore flats. I sat Indian style on the filthy wood floor of my soon-to-be ex-apartment, deciding to check my email one more time before I packed my laptop. As the sun began to set and shine through the faded white curtains of my balcony, I saw your name appear at the top. No, not now. Not when I was about to leave Miami for the last time to take my first job in NYC. Not on my last night in the city. I had a sudden urge to run to your apartment across the street, imagining some loving romantic cliche reunion. I would stay, I would do anything, just to see you again. One sentence. That’s all you wrote. Congratulations on my graduation. A gift, yet a stake in my heart since I painstakingly planned every detail of your graduation two years ago.
I am in a grey Victoria’s Secret sleeper shirt. I usually don’t wear anything when I sleep, but the hot flashes from the chemo have been TERRIBLE. I’m in the fetal position, trying desperately to cash-in on the last few moments of darkness before my alarm goes off. Too late. I see your notification pop up on my phone. I wipe my puffy, salt-bathed eyes to make sure I am seeing your name correctly. One sentence. Something about how I am. What could you possibly have to say to me now? How do you even know how I am? There must be a leak in my friend force that I have kept sacred and true to me for the past ten years. No, not now. Not when I am going through chemo and fighting for my life. Not the day after I found out that I will never be able to have my own children. But there you are, in bold black and austere white, waiting for some sort of proof of life.
And suddenly, ten years converge. I am 20 and I am 30. I am going to my first club as a 21 year-old with you, and I am going to my first brain MRI. I am watching Kaskade perform at Mansion and listening to Marshmello’s new remix of Pompeii on my way to the hospital. I am snapping photos of your grandpa and you at Islamorada Fish House and I am snapping a selfie of myself in surgery before I count backwards to ten. I am yours, and I am his.
I am alive, but barely. And if you want to impact anything, you’re going to have to give so much more than one sentence.