You had always reminded me there was a tomorrow, that it was our tomorrow. I believed you, in all your tousled-brown-hair, nerdy-glasses, geeky glory. You would hug me, you would kiss me, you would whisper, There’s a tomorrow for us. Let’s make sure we’re there to see it. How ironic is it that in the end, you were the one who wasn’t there to see it?
I liked your hugs. I remember everything about them. The way your vanilla scent enveloped me warmly, the way your wrinkled blue hoodie would would smudge my extensive makeup, and you would sometimes get upset and scowl at me, swearing that you’d make me pay for the next hoodie I ruined—I remember all of it. Your chin would rest on my head, and you would make some ridiculous comment about how short I am. My thick-rimmed, black glasses would press against your chest, and sometimes they seemed to stab my eyes out in the process, but somehow, that was comforting. It was normal. It was us.
I liked your kisses. I remember everything about them. Your lips, probably stained red from the giant bowl of cherries you just downed—I could taste it. They looked feminine, and you hated them, but I thought they were adorable. They were a bit chapped. I reprimanded you, telling you to put on lip balm, but you would just wave me away. And then our lips would meet, and your hands would come around my waist, and my arms would come around your neck, and I would feel like I was exploding before you scolded me for making your lips ruby red—my choice lipstick color. I’m not sure if that was normal, but it was us, too.
What happened to that? What happened to us? Are we fading from each other?
Our kisses, fevered and soaked with desperation as we try to reignite the spark between us—at least, I do. I’m not so sure about you. Your breath smells of smoke and cigarettes. Your red, feminine lips aren’t so red or feminine anymore, now grayish and cracked. It’s like all you think of is your next cigarette, like I’m nothing more than a hologram beside you, like you don’t care.
But I have feelings, you know? And quite frankly, you’re hurting them pretty badly. I thought we were amazing together. Did you? Maybe back then you did. As of right now, I can’t remember the last time you playfully scolded me for smearing lipstick across your hoodie or the last time you rolled your eyes at me with your then-stained-ruby-red-lips.
I don’t like the way you look in that bed. The white hospital sheets wash you out and make you look like a ghost, a person only half here. Didn’t I tell you? Smoking causes lung cancer. Everyone knows that. Not that you listened, of course. Since when have you ever listened to what I told you?
There’s not much time left for you; I know that. Still, though you’re only twenty-four and have seemingly already fallen in and out of love with record speed, some part of me will always love you. I have to move on, I know, but who knows how long that could take. Why would I move on if I could just spend your last days by your side? I can tell you don’t want me here, but it comforts me to know you’re not alone. Yes, your supposed friends are here, too, but I can see them smoking outside the window, even right now as you’re about to pass.
Your breathing slows. I press a hand to your pale, darkly veined wrist and feel your pulse fade. When it finally disappears, I stand and leave the room to find a nurse and inform them of what’s happened, a final ruby-red stain imprinted onto your mouth.
We made so many memories together. Though you may be gone now, I hope you had cherished them with as much affection as I did. I, for one, think I may have cherished them a bit too much. After all, that’s what’s got me here yearning for an illusion, the shadow of someone who no longer exists, who hasn’t existed for a while.
I exit the hospital. The dreary gray clouds overhead do nothing to improve my mood. I wish I could go back to what we were before, if only for one last vanilla hug, one last cherry kiss.
A sudden gust of wind blows through my hair, whipping and lashing it through my blurry, tearstained vision and chilling me to the bone.
I pull your wrinkled blue hoodie tighter around me.
Maybe there is a tomorrow.
But it isn’t ours.