Letter to My Youth
May 12, 2014
That night was like glue: you remember it well, I know you do, because you were as intoxicated as I.
I was drunk all the time, with heavy eyes that stuck with each blink and heavier sighs that sparked memories of that night, rendering my thighs weak.
You were young, and when I sat back and watched you smoke your hand-rolled cigarettes on your window ledge I thought if only I could pick this image up ever so gingerly, by its strings, and place it somewhere where it would never cease to exist —
In truth, I am frightened, and I often pause to think: Whatever I possess that keeps you in my grasp is already waning. It is so fleeting, I will find, or already find; and then I am left with next to nothing, and I will think of this sunset on your rooftop, and your t-shirt, and the way you rolled your cigarettes, and the way your eyes glowed the color of honey when you looked at me, so tragically, so invitingly, so admiringly, begging me to take you.
And now, from my setting sun to your sunrise — (a tragic metaphor in itself), I await our next encounter, always too short, always so painfully unsatisfying. I dream of the smoke you blow in my face, I dream to inhale it as if inhaling you, gently placing kisses on the chin that you point at me, and the eyebrows you just barely raise (smugly yet self-consciously all at once), and of tracing with my finger the outline of your eyes.
You are so young. You are so young and you are at once the image of my own youth — even if you don’t define it, you are its poster boy, you in your t-shirt with holes smoking those bitter cigarettes from your window ledge, discussing the radical things you read in school.
Perhaps then you are only a photograph of my youth, and we will be but blinks of the eye in each other’s pasts. And yet all the awkward encounters between our bodies were so punctuated by moments of incredible sweetness and desire and perfection and an intensity of feelings so intoxicating, so real, so full of life, that anyone else would mistake it for love.
By Agatha Palma