By Tapti Sen
Please come sit next to me-
I want to lay my head in your lap and
whisper about the boy you love
as you braid flowers in my hair. Once,
I knew you like I knew myself, and
now, I wonder if history is all we have left.
I look at you and see a stranger. I still
remember your yellow bedroom walls,
the wafting scent of your mother’s piyaju
frying in the kitchen—I see you in everyone
I meet, and I can’t forgive myself for what
we became; I can’t forgive you either. I want you
to be happy, and yet your happiness burns me.
I wish this was easier, I wish we could look at old photos
Without realizing how much time has passed,
I miss you now, even as you stand next to me.
Sometimes, I wake up and hover my thumb
over the send button, aching to tell you how I wish
it was different but I close the tab, message unsent.
I wish you would linger at my doorstep
just a little longer, wrap that red scarf
your grandmother knit just a little slower.
I wish my fingers wouldn’t twitch in hesitation
as I raise my hand to wave you goodbye.
I want to forgive you; I hope I never do.
Please sit next to me and miss me too.