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Five months ago, I went to my junior prom entitled “Avenoir.” That night, I felt content with my dress, my date and the dance; in fact, at two a.m., I was still reeling at the events that made my night and the events that — for the lack of a better word — ruined me the days after. For some reason, five months after those events I was still reeling. I had written a poem within those months and have only now felt comfortable enough to share it no matter who sees this.

Avenoir, spelled a-v-e-n-o-i-r, is the desire for memory to flow backward and rightfully so for that night and the seconds after, I only wanted to think about that night.

It makes me uncomfortable: talking about you this way as if we were something once or anything at all at any moment in time.

I’m really trying not to be dramatic here, but I can’t keep downplaying my emotions that I’ve fought so hard to repress. I’m not going to pretend I don’t didn’t feel anything — not in my writing, at least — because it happened: I told you I liked you and you kind of told me you kind of did too.

I cannot pretend that my eyes did not blink thrice — multiple times — to make sure that I was seeing right. I cannot pretend that everything seemed right in my world again. I cannot pretend that your words did not spark a candle of hope and it was burning brightly. I cannot pretend that I did not wish for it to end there because you kept talking.

You said you didn’t want to make me hope in a chance of there being an “us” and just like that, the flames consumed me and my heart dropped in my chest; my eyes stay closed and dripping; my smile was a stranger; and for the umpteenth time, it felt like my world was crashing down on me and I could not move. My lips quivered and my bones rattled and resounded in my mind.

I cannot pretend that it did not happen because my fingers went numb in shock. I cannot pretend that it did not happen because my chest weighed heavily on me and I could barely breathe. I cannot pretend that it did not happen because my legs were weak and I could not get up from my bed to run to the bathroom so my family wouldn’t see me cry. I cannot pretend that even through that, I did not still want to talk to you.

That night, our bodies had touched and molded into each other as if shapes or puzzle pieces that have found their partner. I felt something in your constant need to offer your hand. I felt something in the firm grip of your hand on my waist. I felt something in your awkward, but somewhat comical attempts to make conversation or try to get me to make conversation. I felt something in the way you let me put your arms around you, but alas, it was neither a feeling nor a real thing; simply an illusion that whatever it was could be happening to me.

Today, you told me to stop comparing myself to others, but how could I not for when I take another bite, I see her making you smile; when I choose to stay in bed, I see you making her cheeks turn red; when I look in the mirror, I see you and me not happening in the near future.

Let’s forget about the future for a moment and everything else that happened after that night. This is your cliche “I want to relive the past” line, but how could I not for when you first saw me — in my dress and all — you took a step back; when the slow song began to play, you stood up and took my hand to dance even though I do not dance; when I couldn’t walk in my shoes anymore, you got on your knees and offered to take them off for me. You could tell me they were empty gestures, but I wouldn’t care because, for one night, I found out what it was like to want to be alive.

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