When we were younger I used to look at you and the way that your hair fell in your eyes. When we were younger my heart skipped a beat and I saw us flying when we mounted the swings and pumped our tired legs towards the sky up and up and finally jumping off, suspended in the air for that one minute where I actually believed we might stay for once. When we were younger our playgrounds were actually playgrounds, not the city or the world or someone's heart, all of them waiting to be conquered.

When we were younger I used to challenge you. To monkey bar races, to hopscotch games, to see who could count all the stars first. The only stars that I ever saw were in your eyes but I wouldn't ever tell you that because it seemed to be too much when we were younger and too silly now that we're older.

When we were younger, I couldn't help but wonder if—when—how—we would make it. When you took my hand, when I heard your laugh, when I felt your warmth and you gave me that smile, I didn't really care either.

When we were younger, I knew everything about you. Your favorite color, your birthday, your favorite cartoon and your dreams. And that was everything about you and that was all I needed. Because you knew everything about me—all of that. And that was all you needed.

The snow fell softly when you got your first car. Two more winters passed and we got too old to count stars—they were blocked out by clouds now anyway. Instead, I tried to count the caps that flew higher than we did on the swings as we graduated. I wonder if you did the same when you looked up at the rainfall of tassel-donned drops. My diploma in hand, standing away from you in the sea of blue gowns, and that's not where I wanted to be.

When we were younger, we were in pictures together and doing bunny-ears. When we were younger, our dads used to joke about us growing up and falling in love. When we were younger, nothing could keep us apart. Inseparable forever. Like stars in the sky.

Caps are easier to count. Caps are from high school and we need things to be easy in high school. That's why we drifted away from each other because nothing in high school should ever be too permanent and shooting stars that move seem more special anyway.

I turn around when my parents congratulate you and your parents congratulate me. You take my diploma and open it to look at it—yeah, it's real, I promise I'm not a little kid anymore, see there's the proof—while I turn around to my best friend and ignore your scrutiny of the evidence. I can't decide if I would call it a crime scene, growing up. Growing up is scary and growing up means innocence is gone but then again, for you it was lost a while ago.

"Here," is the one thing you say to me when I turn around and look at you again. You hand me my diploma and I nod my head wordlessly while you look at me—your stars are still there, by the way—before turning back around to see your own friends.

I sigh a little inside and open up the diploma anyway to see a piece of paper you slipped in, folded neatly.

400 billion stars, but you'll always shine the brightest.

When we were younger, we didn't know how to use google, so I like to still think you counted.