I remember early morning drives and grayish-blue baseball caps

Big Wheel bikes and Velcro shoes and parks close to home

I remember denim overalls and blueberry toaster waffles

And playing with Barbies in a big wooden dollhouse

A dollhouse that you made yourself

One that covered my childhood in smells of hot glue 

 And freshly sanded wood

I remember our Spanish-style roof tiles and cul-de-sac friends

And a feeling warm enough to cover me up

 

I remember a change of scenery

New faces, new seasons, new normals

I remember being scared

But I had you and a pool in the backyard and that was enough

I remember learning to write

Sitting beside you at the dining table 

And copying the lines you drew

And I watched with wonder as they turned into words and then sentences

And then entire stories

 I remember finding pleasure in this practice

And an even greater affinity for what you introduced to me as poetry

So I wrote them, poems that always had to rhyme

And always had to be dedicated to you

Because I felt like I could not find the right words say

Unless they were written out before me

 

I remember when childlike bliss became tinged with fear

The first time I realized that things wouldn’t stay the same forever

Even if I needed them to so badly

Even if I couldn’t imagine them any differently than exactly how they were

I remember how anxiety always crept in 

 As soon as you walked away

You were my only source of comfort

The only friend I’d ever need

I remember feeling like something inside of me was being pulled away

Ripped right out of my hollowed chest

Anytime I was forced apart from you

 

I remember growing and discovering parts of me along the way

Parts that liked eyeliner and Converse and to always be clean

Parts that were both shy and outgoing and liked to sing really loud

But probably shouldn’t 

I remember tumbling on mats (purposely) 

 And soccer fields (accidentally)

Swimming and cheering and acing my tests

Always wanting to perform my best for you

Because knowing I had the power to make you proud

To make you smile

Gave me reasons to put everything I had into everything I did

 

I remember the ups and downs and in-betweens

Fake tans and homecoming dresses and hours put into makeup

Just to come home crying because he danced with someone else

So you would pick me up

From the school or from the party 

Or from whatever ground I had fallen face-first into

You’d dust off my knees and wipe away my tears

And hug me until I could breathe again

Reserving that spot on your lap just for me

For when my head felt too heavy to hold up on my own

 

I remember thinking I was all grown up

Before you dropped me off at school

This time much older

This time an hour from home

I remember the flood of emotion when I watched you drive away

And just like that, I was a child again

Getting dropped off in an elementary school carline

With that hole in my chest that only your company could fill

Wishing that I could turn back time

Just a few minutes… or days… or better yet, years

Back to baseball caps and Barbie dolls and the smell of hot glue

So you would be right there beside me again

So that you could stay by me forever

 

I remember when all this time 

I thought that feeling things was my biggest weakness

And how you taught me that it was my greatest superpower