Some nights I remember it still. After class in our white tees and jogging pants as I listened to your heartache at the farthest swing from the school bus that was supposedly to take me home. ‘She didn’t like me, she never would have,’ you cried and I strained my neck just so I wouldn’t see the ghost of her name that scarred your wrist. I don’t think I ever said anything to you then; I was the token fourth friend who listened, never spoke. And maybe that was all you needed that time. I remember how it began to rain as we walked back to the parking lot and you smiled so wide and welcomed the heavy downpour with outstretched arms, and I laughed as you laughed, forgetting the pain you held so deep within you.

There will never be a day when I won’t recall the warmth that bloomed in my chest when you held my hand to run through the gym field as though it would do much to save us from being drenched. In all the years and lovers that have passed, I told no one about the way my soul sung at that moment—brief, fleeting, yet pure—if it meant I could protect that memory between my palms.

The creak of the swings. The echoes of a bus driver looking for its students. Your choked sobs. The sudden storm. Your laugh. My utter disbelief that someone could not return your affection when I was there, regarding you with so much fondness, as the veins of my body burst in splendid colors of pink, purple, and blue.