A Particular Tenderness

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Setting: a week after this post was originally written in a dimly lit cafe
“I have never written about him on my blog because this came way before I even thought of publishing.The Instagram poetry too.”
“Okay because that’s probably what got you in trouble”
“I have 96 posts published on this website, there’s no way I’m going to find anything.”

* * *

Sunday 10:00am: I found the post. So a year ago on this exact date, or around this time I published a post with the title of the play I wrote in High School. This post being the only thing said about this subject on my blog. In an Interview once, I was asked how many individuals I’ve written about, and I can’t believe I missed this one. Here’s the link (click me) Frankly this is incredibly long, and I don’t want to lose you halfway so I must make this enticing. It’s barely current, we’re going back at least a decade. I also wrote this last weekend, which is mad considering how much has changed in that time. I’m so grateful. I know my place. But I rarely ever sit still.

* * *

It started back when crooked teeth, and wire framed glasses were what you considered trendy at 11. Then you’re 13, and you suddenly miss him. So you call him, pretending you meant to call someone else sans any shame. He picks up. You ask for Kaitlin. He says you have the wrong number. You knew that already. So you catch up. You tell him you joined the school choir. He tells you he’s dating the hottest girl in his class. You tell him the braces are working, but headgear feels like you’re in the Saw movies. You laugh. He hopes you stay in touch. You don’t speak for 3 years.

You hear he’s not doing well at 16. He left school, and no one knows where he is now. He got his heartbroken in the worst way. You get his number from a friend, you say hello. So it begins. You make plans to meet up, they all fall through. Until you bump into each other unexpectedly. You both managed to figure it out, and you wanted to fix what was broken. Which took grueling nights. Using every heartbeat as a metronome to get them creating, but also as a measure of time.

You lived in concert halls. It was about the guitars. The drums. The lights. The set up. The stage equipment. How long it must have taken to set that all up. How he wanted to do that. You said he could. He did. He tells you it’s going to be your year. It was. You call him because you were asked to write a play. He jokes around saying, “you better write about me.” That line always gets writers. Doesn’t it?

He doesn’t want to see you with anyone else, he says as he tells you about the girl he met in the bathroom at a house party. The countless nights you’ve sat there in silence, as he tells you about the endeavours you would only experience when you were older, and less golden. You’re applying for Universities. He’s unsure about finishing High School. You tell him you’re dating someone. Everything goes silent.

“He wrote a song about me”
“Focus on applying to film school”

You introduce the play to a room full of people. He looks nervous. He gives you a standing ovation. You mouth that you’re sorry. He comes Prom dress shopping with you. He wants to go to a prom. So you invite him to yours. He’s ecstatic. He says it would be weird. You can’t be friends for a bit after that.

You’re 18. He shows up to your birthday party with a bottle of wine hoping to make peace. You warn him that if you stop caring for him the way that you do, no one else will know how to. He’s aware of the nights you were up until 3 am helping him with his homework, but it’s not about that. You’re growing apart. September arrives and you don’t have the time to be the girl in the photo. You don’t know where she went.

It’s November 1st, and you’re sitting on concrete, talking about the future. He said he’s sorry for not realizing it sooner. You told him he was too late, that you’re feeling like you’re 16 again, and you can’t go back to purple elastic bands. The bottle of bombay gin gets passed between the both of you. You decide to take a break from one another after that.

It doesn’t last. You remain friends. Phone calls. Facetimes. He doesn’t like the new boy that’s caught your eye. He says the boy is a lot like him. You tell him that’s impossible because the feelings are getting reciprocated. The golden light is beginning to fade.

September comes. A year goes by. You’re in the back of a store on Spadina. He’s showing you what he’s creating. You listen for hours.

“Why did I feel like you were gonna get that fire back in your eyes”
“It was never put out.”

Another year passes. You’re singing Ultralight Beam prancing along King Street with some friends. You see a familiar face unaware that’s he’s along side him. Must be the wine. So he calls after you. You know the voice.

“Do you want to have drinks together? Now?”
“I’m off at 1am”
“cool!! I’ll pin my location. You better show up.”

He shows. The excitement continues. You catch up. He asks about the boy. You give him a summary while his hands ball into fists. You reassure him that you’re still learning, it was quite the adventure, and he was more than what you asked for. He tells you he doesn’t know where his emotions are. You don’t break eye contact. You listen. He knows he should be home. He shouldn’t be out. You let him go. Unaware that the next day, in the span of a 2 minute phone call, you would have to say goodbye again. Cause someone heard Kill Bill sirens when they heard your name. Or read it.

You learn that it comes with adulthood. So you laugh at the videos of them in their basement bedroom, singing to you instead of discussing the pros of going to an alternative school. You only have one method of contacting them, and you don’t want to disrupt where they are. You also don’t know who’s on the other line. You worry because you don’t want them to be left in worse shape than you found them at 16.

* * *

A year later you’re seated on steps that feel below zero, and the moment you hear the tone of their voice you lose all momentum of where you are. Your friend watches you try and catch your own breath but the words “why didn’t you ever try to come back” and “not me, out of all people not me.” This time it wasn’t by chance.

“Get ready, I’m calling you a cab.”
“You’re not serious”
“I’m dead serious. You have 2 minutes.”

Because of the immediate notion of the fact that there’s no such thing as a platonic boy/girl friendship, they’ll take away your best friend of 12 years because you walked into the wrong intersection at the right time on a Friday night. Do you hear that? It’s God’s laughter, that was all his plan. So take it up with him. – from “There’s No Such Thing As Bad Timing” Written by me, last year. February 20th.

You see when you were 17 everyone could walk over you, they could tell you to jump, and instead of how high you’d ask them if the jump was good enough. But now you’re 21, and when he watches you speak with a stern voice, and only break in certain moments, he knows that you no longer apologize for what you can’t control.

“What happened to you”
“I could ask you the same thing”

After that night you felt as though you slept enough for a full year when you barely got any shut-eye. You can’t show him on Camera, not because he’s still shy, but because you’re protecting him. And you will always protect him. Because you’ve been through it all. Don’t forget that. And for those reading this, confused, or immersing themselves into this piece I ask of you to let the most beautiful of minds create.

and if you’re looking for someone to pick a fight about, it ain’t me babe.
Daniella

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September. The girl in the photo.
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