Yes I admit, in some ways you are too old for me. The way you talk to children and activate a flashlight somewhere behind their wide eyes gives me shivers. The way you light something up in me makes me feel the same way, but sometimes I don't mind. Every now and then I catch you mention "but that was ahead of your time," and at first it doesn't bother me, but then I feel like I need to scrape my knees to catch up to you. But there's a way you bring me back to when I had just turned 13 - a new innocent spark under my small denim jacket, the calmness I felt listening to my favorite bands that were your favorite bands. You grabbed my arm and twirled me back to my favorite time in my life, riding around the block on my bicycle with my headphones playing the same music you were listening to in high school. I smell rain and I see tall trees that my eyes never saw the tops of, and I feel the smooth keys on my first keyboard I ever played when I unwrapped the shiny model on Christmas. I feel misunderstood again - in a good way. I feel smart, but I also feel like I'm ready to learn. Just when I thought I was trapped in this globe of uncertainty and confusion, you pulled me out and held me with your calloused hands and whispered lyrics to a song I've never heard before. I don't mind if you make me chase you - I feel the way I did when I swung on the swing set in primary school hoping to touch the sky with the curve of my toes. You take the bitter taste of dirt out of my mouth and drop a teaspoon of cough syrup on my tongue and I taste youth again. I love that you don't expect too much from me. I have looming due dates of papers over my head and voices singing that I'm a disappointment. With you, all I have is time. I have a full life ahead of me, that's what you said. I have nothing but time to waste with you while the world stops turning for that night. The little girl you dragged out from under me is frightened and won't let me enjoy living again. She's grown up before, and now that she's back again, she knows what you're going to do - she's seen it all before. Love and learning isn't all playgrounds and love bites and tire streaks in the driveway. It's scar tissue, obsession and smeared hearts on the face of the one who eats their heart out. You must never tell, she tells me. Do not let him know. I feel fire flaring up behind my neck when you whisper in my ear. I hear ghosts from the corners of my brain start to sing when you talk about the things you love. I feel a heavy weight on my heart when you hand me a shot glass. I feel it tugging when you become irritated when I get dressed. "Are you fucking leaving? Because if you want to leave, you can just go, I'll unlock the door for you," you hissed at me. I had to undo my dress and throw it on the floor for you to believe that I wasn't going anywhere. I heard police sirens and saw flashing blue and red lights, but they went away at the blink of an eye when you started to play love songs. I can ignore the signs all I want, but if they start to take away my sight, I will have to feel everything so intensely and blindly. I feel the wind brushing my long hair again while I sit outside by the lake at my grandmother's old house. I remember what it felt like to have my heart broken when I was little and not have anywhere to go but here. I close my eyes when we lay together in your bed and you roll on your side, and I come back to this place. I love it because even as lonely as I have ever been, nobody else has ever taken me here. Something about you forces me to experience everything over again and I feel immortal. I haven't spoken to you in months, I think it might even be a year. I fell in love with someone else. Younger than you, but still significantly older than me. Whenever she says "but that was ahead of your time," it reminds me of you and I wish I was nestled between your chest and your beard but I fell in love with someone else and you never bothered to text me again after that night that I made you walk home. I don't feel bad because you humiliated me in front of all your friends. I know you remember what happened. I drove by your house last night and I saw boxes piled up outside of your front door. You must have moved back to New Jersey finally, just like you told me you were going to do someday, using it as a reason why I deserved better. I see it now. I wanted to tip toe over and hide in the biggest box I could find and tie a long silky red bow around it, but I thought I might get tipped over on the way to the post office. I think about you a lot more than you'd think, you know. I see fragments of you in everyone I meet. You sneak your way into my thoughts very rarely, but still leaving me feeling refreshed. Feeling raw. Feeling free. Feeling immortal.

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