To the friend I have not seen in a long time

To the friend I have not seen in a long time:

I don’t want to hear about all your big plans, your job, or your distant future. I want to hear about when you woke up today and what you ate for dinner last night. What the first thought that popped into your mind was. I want to know if you squinted when you turned on the lights in the bathroom and about what toothpaste you’re using these days. And if you burned your tongue with your first sip of coffee because you were too eager or too impatient.

I want to know what irritated you today and what made you melt with compassion. I want to hear about your immediate future- your grand plans for tomorrow. I want to hear about your tired, your dread, your anticipation, your relief, your joy- and what made you smile deviously to yourself, but you told no one else. Of course your big dreams and your fears will come alongside them. I’ll gladly hear them too. But I also want to know what you thought of the sunset today and how frustrated you got trying to park your car or if you took the bus instead. I want to hear if you forgot your keys and spent an anxious hour looking for them only to realize you burned your sandwich in the toaster oven and your keys were still in the jacket you wore last night.

I want to know if you wrote any emails and to who and if you enjoyed writing them or merely felt obliged.

After all, I don’t want you as an acquaintance; I want you as a friend. So let us share details and marvels! Trivialities and necessities! I want to know what is weighing on your mind and if you got everything you wanted to get done yesterday. Or if you were frustrated because you were too muddled in thought to focus. And if your laptop ran out of battery before you saved your essay. I want to know what you dreamt about last night and what you want to dream of today. I want to know the most intricately boring thing you thought today. And about the thoughts you were ashamed of too.

I still want to know you as if we saw each other every day. I also want you to know it’s perfectly okay if we just sit here in silence. Or if you don’t want to tell me anything just yet. Or if you want to pour it out in a jumbled un-sentenced stream. Or if you just want to speak in British accents and pet the neighbor’s cat.

I want to know if you slipped in the mud because you were running late. I want to know what you think of the lake in front of us and if you’ll come back to it alone. I want to know if you need to wake up early tomorrow and for what and if you’re looking forward to it. I want to know what you’ll do after we say goodbye. I really want the moment to be special and memorable- but don’t worry, all it takes is you, willing to share the day with me.

I still want us to make plans together-whether to go run this afternoon or trek through the wilderness months from now. I want to see if you’ve placed new decorations in your room. And if the postcard I sent you is still pinned above your desk. Or if you wore the same shirt that you did the last time I saw you. And I want to show you that I’m still wearing the bracelet you gave me years ago.

I still want to know you, not the frame of you that you save for strangers, but the scintillating you that I imagine beside me all the time.

I want to laugh with you about our memories stargazing at camp or how we all squeezed in the car that one time so we wouldn’t have to pay parking twice. I want to search for four leaf clovers with you and call to the sea lions and birds. I want to see what tea you’ll pick and if you’ll split an ice cream with me or if you want one all to yourself (or may be I want one all to myself…). I want to help you set the table and fold the laundry you forgot in the dryer because we were too busy taking pictures of our shadows.

I want you to read while I write and it be okay even if I don’t see you tomorrow. I want you to tell me your shoes smell funny. I want you to try on my sunglasses. I want to pick oranges with you and use their zest in a cake before we press them for juice. I want us to shiver from the same cold, to tan in the same sun, to pick flowers from the same field, and to trip on the same roots, all on our way to the same mountaintop.

The talk of your big plans, your job, or your distant future will come up on its own- all your details are laced through them after all. I want to know you in the intricate weave of your days. In the complexities that filled your hours and thoughts. In your shadows and your flames. And in the simplicities that connect you- to me.

Published by Johanne Boulat

Johanne Boulat was born in French-speaking Switzerland, where she lives again now, but she grew up under the resplendent California sun. For 21 years she basked in the spirit of the Wilderness, which she discovered on hiking as well as literary paths. She received her Bachelor of Science in Animal Biology from the University of California, Davis in 2012 and since then has worked as a scientific field aid, a translator, a sales specialist, and a running coach. In 2018, she completed her master’s degree in English Literature at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. She now teaches English and Science at a local elementary school and dedicates her free time to the three “R”s: Running, Reading, and Writing.

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