Years Ago

To an old friend…

Author’s note: Most of us on this Earth have had the wonderful, beautiful privilege of experiencing life-altering friendships. But there are equally those of us who have lost a great number of friends — to other relationships, to meridians and latitudes, to differences and arguments, to death, to time pulling apart the strings that found a seemingly impossible way to one another. This poem, while it is singly addressed “to an old friend,” is actually meant to be a release of all the friendships I’ve harbored in my heart, unwilling and unable to let go — even when I should have, a long, long time ago. Months can stretch into years, and if we let this precious time pass us by, we’ll be forever haunted by the same deceptions — the same people, who exist only in our memory. I’m working to relinquish those deceptions, to love those still present in my life, and let go the ones who are no longer. This is a step. This is a letter of love, of loss, and of hope for a more peaceful existence. And, as always, thank you for reading. -bnb

There are days when it
feels like yesterday.
The sugar-coated bubblegum
and all the empty
boxes.
For going. For leaving. For never returning.

But it’s been years since
I’ve seen your face on anything but
an electronic reflection.
And all the pixels in the world will
never replace
the freckles on your nose
or the chocolate corners of your eyes
the way you tilt your head back when you laugh
the quiet tenderness of your soul.

I want to say it
made a difference.
That your life and mine
were part of a world
all its own.
But that was years ago.

And I still run past
your empty house,
willing the universe to bring you
back —
where you belong,
here at home.
But that was years ago.

I crack like chipped glass each time a memory
pierces my mind,
lurches back into gravity,
like it wasn’t months
and hours
and years
…but seconds
we were apart.
But that was years ago.

And I should — I should
leave you
to your own family and all the friends that came
after me.
Because I didn’t try enough to bring you back.
Because I am selfish and can’t forget you.
Because I am lonely and never really let you go.
Because I am wiser and brave enough to believe it is for the best.
But that was years ago.

And now the sun is shining through window panes,
and mascara and tears cloud my vision,
and I remember you
in wisps of songs
in the colors of your hair
in the crease of a book
in the clasp of a necklace
in the folds of a note
in the laughter of a memory.
And I let you go.
Because that was years ago.

This poem also appears on Medium

One Comment

  1. Debi & Don Durbin says:

    Hi Bethany,   LOVED your poem!!  Yes we do have friends that come and go but always remember that some friends will always be there for you no matter how many years go by.   HUGS!! Debi

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