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Grade
8

I am an innovator in the science of missing opportunities and people who don’t believe in fate. My lab consists of test tubes filled with oxygen that I wear around my neck just to hear them collapse when I exhale. I collapse when they exhale a part of themselves; a wisp of meaningful smoke caught behind the fire of this life.

Her eyes burned so brightly and scorched me so badly that I was just the eclipse of the sun. You were the sun my love; a night stealer. For years I thought that you revolved around me; how cowardly I was back then. I was too scared to admit that you could leave me behind. With every breath I took I would be the wind that powered you through your escape to another galaxy. So the story goes of how you left me in the gloom before your wake. 

I was thinking of you when I knocked on the burgundy wood of the door to apartment number 331. It was not a conscious thought for long ago you flooded my mind and got caught in the valleys shadowing the mountains of my sadness. However I do believe that you would have liked it in my friend’s apartment with its walls covered in black and white movie posters and yellow paint. Its floor a deep rich wood acting like the foundation for red couches and chairs. In the kitchen hangs a magnificent chandelier. 

Since Tom lacks a dining room, he thought that it would be money well spent to make the atmosphere of the kitchen not only a place of cooking, but a place of savoring the rich tastes of life. I used to know every creak in the floor and all the places where one could find loose change under the cushions, but that was a long time ago, even before I met you. 

It only takes one knock for Tom to open the door. I am greeted by a face I haven’t seen in years, yet I recognize those hazel eyes and brimming ears. 

“Hello dear friend.” 

He speaks slow and deliberately. He is a waterfall of words chilled by the cold winter, but still manages to stumble as he takes me in. I look him up and down as well, noticing the way his geometric features have loosened and grown warm with facial hair. Tom breaks the stare with a gesture inside. 

“Please, come in.”

I am the first of the guests to arrive, as the only one in an old band of kids who broke their habit of always being fashionably late. 

“Where’s the main event?”, I ask in the mists of another wave of you. Like the ocean waves you hit hard, knocking me off my feet and into one of the leather chairs. 

“Oh, they’re in there”, he points in the direction of his room,”you know how they are.”

“Young and in love.” 

I am in a terrible state. My lungs are filling with the tears I refuse to cry and, perhaps worse of all, Tom notices. We says that he knows something is wrong, that things aren’t like they used to be. I think for some reason he would leave me; kick me out for being so self-centered. I am too unsociable for events like this anyway. 

There is a knock at the door. He answers. Our faces are painted with surprise at the notion that there are three people standing in the doorway. They came together. 

“We brought presents”, they cry.

I manage a whimper. I forgot my present. 

But at first they didn’t notice me. I was just a shadow in their light, growing long with the envy I would later diagnose myself with. They talk with Tom about how they haven’t seen each other in ages like he takes pleasure in being reminded about our friendship breaking apart. There is only one girl. She is chiseled with short, brown hair and stunning blue eyes that glisten as she mentions how she’s dating again and narrows as the boys say that she’s on her fifth boyfriend already. A name comes to mind- Kelsey. I remember her being the life coursing through the veins of everyone she came across. 

I hoped that she would bring my pulse back when those blue eyes finally found me. It took a while, as there was much to catch up on. But eventually, she turned her head and found my slumped over body making a home in one of the chairs. A squeal escaped her mouth. 

“Matthew”, she exclaimed, “I had no idea you’d be here oh my gosh.” 

“Yeah well, I’m here.” 

I forced a laugh. No pulse. 

“This is so great. How have you been?” 

“I’ve been good actually, thanks.”

I forced a smile. I lied. But that was okay. You would’ve wanted me to. You never liked hearing about my problems.

“Well, is it time?”, one of the guys interrupted.

“It has been time all along. You guys just were late.” Tom spoke with a smile. I must of surprised him earlier. Maybe he didn’t think I would come. He knocked on the door to his room. 

“Martha, David, get your butts out here.” 

First came David. He was adorned in a brilliant white suit with Martha at his tail in a dress beautiful like the sight of gentle snowflakes dancing on the ground. Hand and hand they walked into the center of the room. There was no makeshift alter; no priest. It was just us seven, plain and beautiful, as it always was. 

I began to miss those days, back when things were better, Back when we would talk about love, never marriage, and the future never seemed bleak. It just seemed like it wasn’t there at all. 

The cake was chocolate as David has insisted. One of the guys said it was tacky, but I disagreed. There could be noting tackier than throwing a wedding in an apartment. Regardless, it was delicious. In the kitchen we ate and made jokes while I quietly lifted the fork to my lips. 

I savored it. Every inch was softly inspected by my taste buds and its split tongue reminded me of yours, little basilisk. Little monster. Little something. Little everything. You meant everything to me. You were the sun to my planets and the shoes on my feet so that I could walk the forest of our love. You were... you were... special. 

“Shall I purpose a toast?” 

Tom meant it. I could tell. He wanted it to be something special for Martha and David, but I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by. 

“No, let me.”

I spoke to a sea of amazement at what I had begun.

“Life’s breath is beautiful and you should take it and run with it. However you look like the tree that fell over in my yard yesterday. Marriage is wonderful but what about the rest of us? What about the ones left behind; bruised and broken? What about the ones who love their walls more than their partner?”

There is only silence. I am struggling to keep my head above the water. 

“You look like the tree that fell over in my yard yesterday. You almost destroyed my house but that’s okay, because you ended up destroying me instead. You. I loved you. I loved your skin and your bones. I loved your weaknesses and your strengths. But me, I was so weak.”

I am drowning. 

“You. You. You. I’m sorry, I can’t do this.”  

The burgundy wood of the door slams behind me. I yearned for you to hear it. I wanted you to finally notice me. So I ran to your apartment building. You had since moved further south, but I didn’t care. I wanted to see the door like it was when I first knocked. But Tom was right, things aren’t like they used to be. It used to be that nobody opened it.