Title: I collected snow in a jar for you but now it's all water.
Prom night. Cigarette smoke. The dance hall. Hot, sticky, uncomfortable.
I retreated to the canteen benches incognito under velvet curtains, feet bare and awkward. The way the dress hem tickled my ankles graveled me more than the white noise in my head. I only noticed you because you were in my seat, vertically fetal positioned as if in hibernation.
You woke up and offered me my seat. I forgot to thank you or tell you that the seat was mine anyway. And I don't intend to tell you that I spent a long time staring at the jutted curve of your spine, before you noticed me standing in front of you.
I didn't dance that night, but I learned that the winter solstice was occurring at 00:22, approximately 3 and a half hours from then, and that your favorite sport is water-skiing. I told you I only knew how to ski on land, and you said with a bright grin that you would bring me to the beach come summer time.
I nodded, but didn't tell you I couldn't swim.
The seven days of calm during winter are called 'halcyon days'.
I know because you told me so over the phone, after I answered that my favorite festival was Christmas, and before you replied that yours was Independence Day. I pointed out that it wasn't really a festival, and you merely laughed.
And then, out of nowhere, you simply said,
"You know what,
I like you."
And I just simply stupidly hung up the phone.
3 days later, I sent a text message:
I like you too.
We built snowmen on Boxing Day, and the tips of your nose and ears were so red they looked sunburnt. In contrast you said I was snow-white, that I blended in with the landscape. In my mind I pictured Snow White, pallid as a corpse, inside her glass coffin, and made a tight smile.
I am looking forward to the beach in summer time so I can get a tan.
Spring came and you stuck corny haiku written on oversized jotter book papers into my lockers. I kept every one of them in a large glass jar, still folded, to trap the happiness between the crimps of the papers. I'm bad at writing, so instead I folded tiny paper cranes, collecting them in a smaller jar beside yours until I reach a thousand.
I've made 223 so far.
My hands are slow, they never reach fast enough.
Yesterday you told me you have never heard me say 'I love you', and I said that the best kind of love is the one that's kept silent. And you went deathly quiet for a long time.
When you finally left the room, my hands were too slow to catch your sleeve.
I don't think you ever notice the glass jars on my table, and the overflowing cranes that have no more place to go. I didn't know that 1000 was such a huge number.
The death throe of the summer cicadas outside my window distracts me. I have slowly stopped folding origami just like you have stopped writing crappy poetry. Sometimes I still crease the corners of my papers like a heroin addict going through withdrawals.
This year's summer solstice would occur June 21st, 18:06, but the night would still be long.
I haven't gone to the beach at all this year, but maybe, tomorrow I will.
I take the larger glass jar from its perch, its cover lightly veiled with dust, and slowly unfold all the papers inside. I take care not to read the words, because it would be like watching the delayed twinkling of stars light-years away, and I hate stars now.
(I hate even more that I know the names of all the constellations in the sky. The Volans is the flying fish, and the Grus is the crane.)
So, I tear them into tiny little paper flakes that I collect inside the jar. The once full jar has now become half-empty. I bring the heavy jar to my apartment window, and watch as I poured out its contents into the dry summer wind.
The swirl of fake snow in the bright sunshine is so ethereal it makes me look up into the sky instead, and my eyes sting from the brilliant sunlight.
It would take too long to unfold those 1000 paper cranes sitting at my desk.
Perhaps I should burn them instead, along with the clothes and cigarettes you've left behind.