by lauren atkinson

i thought of you while i was cooking dinner the other night. something reminded me of you while i was chopping garlic cloves. my eyes were watering, and the back of my tongue burning.

and i saw you like you were standing there in front of me,

strung out, high; red, wet eyes and raspy throat.

your eyes always got red when you smoked and your hair was never kept in place no matter how hard you tried. You had a cowlick in the back of your head that I’m certain you had no idea was there: it looked like you were permanently five years old and just waking up from a nap, skin dewy with sleep and eyes always half closed but still full of wonder in the world. i found that endearing then and still do now.

no matter the shoe, you always wore a hole or rubbed the suede free on the outer sole near your pinky toe. you had a knack for waiting to get something tailored until it was already worn too many times that it’d be recognized by anyone that saw you. every shirt was one size too big and hung too wide in your shoulders.

you always rub your pointer finger on your right hand with your thumb when you’re nervous. and bite the inside of your lip when you’re impatient. the skin inside your bottom lip is raw and red, and i always yelled at you to stop because you’d do it until you bled. 

you were always impatient. with me, the world. something. someone. everyone. everything.

as i chopped the garlic, my hand moved faster and faster until there were too many cloves chopped for the meal.

when i think of you, i run out of space.