twenty two feels like messy cursive, ink to paper, the pen never coming off the page to breathe. breathing would mean stopping for a moment and missing a blurry, beautiful, unremarkable, magical, infuriating day. racing home to scribble down an idea before it slips away. dreams won’t move, can’t move unless you do. curled up crying in the car, empty and gray as the clouds hanging low. nine open tabs on the computer, maybe more school, maybe a new job, maybe a plane ticket, maybe it’ll all fall into place if you close them and let them be. maybe you should, maybe you will, maybe you won’t. trying feels terrifying but so does not trying at all.
life trailing out behind you, there’s things far enough away to forget now. there’s what’s-his-names and memories or pictures or dreams, you’re not sure which is which. boxes packed and unpacked three times with everything you have. true reunions, time apart enough to see change, reflected warmly in the eyes of friends who knew sixteen and thirteen and eight-year-old versions of you.
life unfurling hazily before you, people waiting, things unseen, memories and plans waiting to be made. the bottles of deep red wine and glimmering champagne, the ones you’ll open when life spikes and moments arrive, are already poured and sealed in gold and waiting somewhere, aging along with you and the people you’ll open them with. time is yours, boundless and dizzying. there is so much time. you could get drunk off of all the possibility of sixty more years on this earth. you do.
people to miss, people who left, people missing from you like phantom limbs. a new normal and communicating on three different apps every day. i love you, i miss you, i love you, i miss you, in and out like breathing. scheduling phone calls with your mom instead of greeting her when she walks through the door. bittersweet, sharp inhales when memories from a beloved wood-paneled campus bar come rushing back. people who stayed, who show up at your door with chicken noodle soup the day you call in sick. people who surprise you, patient and open and impossibly familiar, maybe you’ve always known them. small talk shrinks into the background, there’s too much life unfolding all around you for that. coffee shops and mismatched living rooms that start to feel like home.
raw, searing feelings, quiet nights to take them all in. loud nights to sing them all away. gold eyeshadow softening and settling around trusting chocolate-brown eyes. hope on the weekends in spite of it all. walking around with a brimming heart to give if someone looked at you the right way, so full it could spill over. strangers could change your life. the friend of a friend, the right bar, the right song. patience running low as the questions rise and fall in your chest but deep down you understand you’ll need patience your whole life. pick up the pen. breathe. turn the page. this is, after all, only twenty two.