Jeweled

I would stand in the shadow of the hallway leading out into the wide open space,
looking for you in the distance.
People would rush past, intent on not wasting any more time than it took for them to get there,
and I would linger, my eyes searching for you amidst the sea of bodies.

Alas, I would find your smiling eyes,
your laughter booming from where I stood and before then,
you would see me in the shadows and smile knowingly,
and I would make my way out to you,
myself beaming in mutual acknowledgment.
You would slide over to make room for me,
or demand that whoever blocked the way do the same,
as I was sitting nowhere except beside you.

In the evenings, we would sit on the couch in your living room,
our knees touching absentmindedly as you told me about your day,
of all the people you interacted with,
and I would listen, all smiles, and we would laugh over the stupid bits,
and then you would venture into your kitchen,
throw white rice onto a skillet, mix in kimchi and chili sauce,
and make the best bokkeumbap I would ever have,
and pack extra in foil for my mom as she loved it too.
You made food for me because you loved me,
and I loved you anyway, though the food was a bonus.

We would resume our positions on the couch after dinner,
our legs criss-crossing over each other,
there in our contented fullness,
high on life and on the daily presence of one another,
counting on each other to be there every other night,
to keep out the world and keep in this love,
a love that neither of us would acknowledge,
as we enjoyed the limbo we resided in far too much,
as we enjoyed a sisterhood that would always edge into something else,
as we went on with the outside world,
and the boyfriends we tried on like cheap shoes.

Everyone else was temporary, and we were permanent.
We protected each other like alphas
who could sense an external threat from miles away,
and no one crossed our path successfully unless permitted.

I think of you now, as I begin a new journey of transformation and progress.
As I attempt to navigate the waters of conventional accomplishment and fulfillment,
as I feign enthusiasm and earnestness for things I know nothing of,
things I may only partially believe in lest I am proven wrong.
I think of our shared wildness, our shared rebellion,
the ways in which we made each other feel insurmountable, indestructible.
Of our innate sense of what it meant to be young women
who demanded more than the world would offer us,
who demanded an entire universe and nothing less.
I think of the ways in which you were my sister, my friend.

I think of a love that remains forever gilded in a precious time long ago,
a time of ceaseless wonder and defying possibility.

As I inhabit this novel space of adult normativity,
I remain as wild and as rebellious as we ever were,
our spirit flowing through my veins like the air I breathe,
as I fight for the quintessential person I have always been.
The world I have crafted expands brightly before me,
and while I am filled with a deepening affection to move forward,
I will think of you in time, in the things I do,
in the moments when I have strayed from that old path,
the path of wildflowers and moonlight.