The Color of Streetlights

The summer I loved you we were iced tea stains

on the cushions of your mothers favorite chairs, we were

stolen moments alone, when our friends were

too busy checking for cops, we were enjoying the

danger of the moment, we still exist in polaroids and not

so secret kisses in the back seat of Syd’s station wagon, I can still taste

your lip gloss, your candied mouth on mine. I can still see

the streetlights flashing yellow and gray and green across us.

 

I bought you a sweater in your favorite color at the

flea market that July, I said that if you don’t have me around

to keep you warm this winter, at least there’s something

I can do to help. I think you made a blog post about

setting that sweater on fire the week after we collapsed,

crashed. I know it must have been Tara that talked you

into that she was always keying cars and burning sweaters,

she never took an answer that wasn’t no.

 

I still remember our first fight, the dishes from your mother’s

kitchen that you and I both smashed on expensive veneer, I

was so glad that the storm hadn’t broken at my house, my mother

would never have stood for smashed plates in her kitchen.

You and I smoked cigarettes that tasted like dreams and when I

can’t run up a flight of stairs without wheezing, the rasp in my

throat still tastes like you, now long after the cigarettes are gone.
Sometimes I pass teenagers smoking in the street and remember

that we weren’t always smashed plates and curses and scars.

 

For a broken shining moment, we were a fragment of light

reflected off the cheek of the universe, existing in the

turned cheek of your god fearing family, in the corner of my

father’s eyes, we were the dressed down fears of grown-up

worries, one day we were gonna, one day we were gonna,

one day we were gonna, one day doesn’t matter, one day doesn’t exist,

today we’re gonna drive to the state line just to have one foot

in each state, one place we can marry, one we can’t, maybe

today, we’ll get married. Who knows. There are plenty of todays left.

 

And I know that we ran out of todays eventually, we got tired of

dog-earing the same pages of each other and setting fire to the same

eyes every morning. If you do anything enough you’ll get sick of it

and we got sick of falling in love with each other a thousand times a

minute, but I will never forget the days that lasted forever and the summer

that didn’t feel like a summer but a lifetime, everything slowed way down

so we could enjoy every moment, sped way up to fit a whole life of you

and I between school years. I am always still surprised when fall comes.

I have never been able to trust the first few leaves that tumble.

 

But I keep thinking of the night that Max

drove me all the way to Pennsylvania to buy fireworks

and when we set them off in the Wal Mart parking lot, we

had to jump three fences and hide in a shed just so you wouldn’t get arrested.

Again. I will never forget the way you smiled when I told you

I wanted to be small enough to fit in the corners of your pockets.

I never wanted to forget the sound of your voice, that’s why I still have

your voicemails in my phone, all seven times I missed your calls and I

don’t listen to them anymore. Not unless I am too lonely to breathe.

 

We were never meant to love each other for life, but I loved you

for eternity and a half, during the summer that lasted to forever and

back again, the days we spent running under a dry, cracked sun

and the nights we spent wrapped in each other under the wet sky,

stars sewn into the back of our eyelids. If we decided to get in the back

of Syd’s station wagon again, do you think that, just maybe, we would still

remember the shape of each others lips, hands, bodies, souls, maybe?

Lets let the passing streetlights flashing on our hair remind us how

to love in full color. No brakes. No fear. In yellow, and gray, and green.

Charlie Leppert