We met the day after the first full moon of the year, you and I. I had just turned twelve and was crushed that no one had showed up to my party. You were new in class, but your smile was warm even though you were in a room full of strangers and I envied you immediately. You took the empty seat next to mine, but I was too shy to speak to you for three days.
On the fourth day you asked to borrow a pencil and grinned when I could only offer you a pink, glitter-covered one. Yet you took it even when others laughed at you for daring to write with a “girly” pencil.
Soon we were as thick as thieves, passing notes written in a secret alphabet filled with jokes only we understood. I never tired of seeing you smile or hearing you laugh.
Fifteen moons had passed before we swore to each other that we would always remain friends, no matter what happened in our lives or how old we got. We were true teenagers at the ripe old age of thirteen and thought we knew it all even though adulthood was still so far away. Who knew summers would pass so quickly. We felt as if we would never get any older.
It was after one of your rugby matches at school that you asked me whether I liked you. I knew what you meant, but I didn’t know what to say. I had wanted to tell you for months that I loved you, but it never seemed like it was the right time. Instead of “I love you”, stupid joke slipped from between my lips and I knew instantly that I hurt you even though you laughed. It was, up until then, the day in my life I had most regretted.
You were talking about where you wanted to apply for university when I couldn’t take it anymore. You were shocked when I leaned in to kiss you, but you kissed me back. Then you asked me to the year-end dance and I floated on a pink cloud for days.
It was the middle of the school day and we were stuck doing algebra when my mum phoned from the hospital and said my aunt was on her way to pick me up. You slipped out of school and were there to hold me as I cried about my father whose heart had just decided to stop working. You vowed to never leave me and I believed you. I needed more than anything to believe you.
We made love the night before we left for different universities and promised each other that nothing would ever change. We had technology, after all. We could easily keep in touch.
I wanted to phone you, but I didn’t know what to tell you. My fingers paused above the numbers on my phone, but refused to press them. I had no idea what to say to you. Your birthday was yesterday and I forgot.
I realised today that we haven’t spoken in more than a year. My fingers linger over the letters on the screen. Then I type “Hi”, take a deep breath, and hit send. Your reply is immediate. “Hi”, you say. There is a pause and then “I miss you”. “Come visit then,” I type and feel as giddy and scared as the day you asked to borrow my pencil. “On my way”, you type to me and I know you feel the same. Just maybe we could be together forever.