ode to losing a best friend

there's a bottle on the counter and
it makes you think of him.
of his voice, and how it changed.
and of yourself, of the way you left.

the night you met, both sober, both scared.
he got loud and you got quiet, and it was funny,
cause you hated each other,
up until you didn't.

and later, the night you hardly knew him,
but you cried anyway, and he hugged you,
and it was simple,
and it was safe.

there was a night he could hardly speak without breaking,
he was hanging onto you for dear life,
words tumbling out as he told you about his nephew,
his father, his nightmares,
and you were soothing him.

remember the night he did the pushups?
and later you found him in the kitchen,
bracing himself on the counter,
trying not to cry. and you poured two drinks
and told him you knew, and you loved him,
and he was safe here.

and - the night you knew it was over,
that you'd lost your best friend.
he was shouting, and you fell down
in your haste to back away from him,
and you were so fucking scared.
of him. the one person you'd never been afraid of,
not ever.




the second time you got drunk together,
you were still a lightweight,
and he still thought everything could stay the same.
you cried and threw up, and it was so humiliating.
but he cleaned it up and didn't tell anyone,
and he never made you feel bad for it. not once.
not even after everything went wrong.

you were once so similar, so certain of everything,
and maybe in some ways you're still the same.
but you both know too much has changed,
and that it was inevitable all along.

and maybe what hurts the worst, all these months later,
is that you love him even now,
that little boy in the kitchen, all of nineteen years old
and so kind, so raw, so human.
but you could never love the man he's become.

and you still think, sometimes, maybe you could've -