No. 1 on “A List of Things I’ll Never Say.”

Here’s a crazy idea:

It’s springtime and that means the musical is in full swing at our alma mater.

We should go watch a show together. For old times sake. I think it would be fun.

Do you remember when we were a part of that mess? Do you recall those days we spent after school? 2 hours, or more, of fixing wrong notes or running through a whole number that we mastered. Or having to deal with those little divas who thought they could sing, but couldn’t get their lines to match our rhythms. We rolled our eyes and laughed because it was ridiculous but, at the same time, we were trying very hard not to pull our hair from our heads out of frustration.

But now, we don’t have to go through that. We don’t have to sit backstage in all black, hidden behind the curtains. No. We can sit in the audience. And we can wear whatever we want. Hell, if we wanted to, I could wear heels and a dress and you could wear your nice shoes and a skinny tie and we could walk in looking quite dashing. And we would sit at the very back of the black box theater at the top of the risers. And we could enjoy the show in its full glory. The lighting, the costumes, the choreography. All of the things we missed because we couldn’t miss the notes on the score, lest we desired the play to go downhill. We would have the wonderful surprise of hearing a joke for the first time and laughing along with the rest of the crowd. Of course, there would be moments where our sensitive ears would get to us, and we would flinch when we heard an intonation problem or a squeak or a rushed rhythm. Then we would nudge each other or turn to face each other or whisper in each other’s ears to see if we noticed the same thing. This would happen every once in a while. But maybe one time I’ll turn, but you won’t be looking at me. Instead, your mouth will be slightly open and your head will be leaning down because you’ve fallen asleep. And I’ll cover my mouth, suppressing my laughter because I wouldn’t dare laugh in the middle of the production.

Wouldn’t it be nice?

No stress of missing an entrance. Or having to keep up with the singers. This time around, we could point and laugh at the poor souls in the pit orchestra because after a while, the hours were torturous. This time, we could pat them on the backs and congratulate them for surviving like we did.

But despite the long, hard practices and the blood and swear and tears, there was something magical.

Do you remember?

Do you remember making faces at each other when we heard wrong notes? We used to memorize the lines of the actors, so we would turn around and mouth the best lines, from the punch lines to the cheesy love speeches. And when my favorite song came on, we would use dramatic hand gestures and pretend to sing our hearts out. We were so close. The hours went on, but at least we spent them together. In a world that was seemingly beyond annoying, we could tolerate each other enough to not tear each other apart when we were with each other. There were other people too, true, but we were the most important. They didn’t click like we did.

In the midst of the chaos, we created our own blissful universe.

When we weren’t sitting in those uncomfortable black chairs rehearsing our asses off, we were walking to Starbucks like we did years before to catch a drink before our next commitment, or just to hang out. It was cold on those February nights, so you drew me close so we could keep warm, linked at the elbow, walking slowly in sync. God forbid we spill our drinks. On days when we had to sit in the rehearsal room, you would hold me in your arms and I would rest there. We wouldn’t do anything more than that, although you and I both know we probably wanted to. Instead, we sat still in the dark, not wanting to move from this state of grace.

The dark was our friend. I think I enjoyed wearing all black because we could run around backstage and not be seen. We could blend into the curtains and no one could catch us stealing kisses. Or laughing silently in a sweet embrace after we chased each other playfully around the set. No one heard you say “I love you,” a phrase so carelessly thrown around, a phrase that I actually believed at the time being. I didn’t know you would break my heart. Because all I saw was you and me, and not the conflict. I guess the darkness hid that.

Every time I find myself backstage, even though I’m not in “the musical business” anymore, I can’t help but reminisce on our secret rendezvous. Last month, I had to hide myself in the crook of the curtains to change for dance rehearsal and I thought of you and how we used to hide so well. It brought back memories of sitting on the props and reenacting the love scenes and me on the tips of my toes because I was too short to reach your lips otherwise. It reminded me of the times we fought over stupid, petty things and how we always made up. You pulled me into a kiss and a hug because we didn’t want our world to shatter.

But it did.

So now all that’s left is the hurt and confusion in my heart over what happened, and I hold on to the ropes and the cold levers and run my hand along the drapes and the painted walls to think back to a spring when I thought love was in the air and everything was just dandy. I sigh and sometimes I hold back tears because we’re not on the best terms. We’ve tried countless times to rekindle our relationship, even just the friendship, but we’ve failed. And it sucks. Because you were a seemingly nice guy who cared, and I was a bit wild but I cared too. I guess we just brought out the worst in each other. Maybe I cared too much.

But I also know that it would probably never work out. Because you can’t base a friendship off initial attraction, even if you both have feelings for each other. Yes, it’s something you can laugh at in the future, but more likely than not, someone’s feelings disappear and the other person is only going to be left to bleed. What is there other than initial attraction? Nothing. Because it was too overwhelming for you, and the fact that it was too overwhelming pushed out all other factors that could save our friendship. You moved on, and I moved on. Or so I thought.

I would love to watch the musical with you. Because it would bring back the good memories. But it would also bring back the bad. So I don’t text you to tell you my crazy idea. We don’t even talk anyways. Because it’s hopeless to think that something good might come out of this meeting, because we’ve tried. Even the past months where we thought we were more mature, we pushed each other away.

So I won’t watch the musical with you. No, I’ll watch it with my mom. I might even watch it by myself, for all I care. That way, no one can see me tracing the past. I might even wear black to blend in more and mask the tears from coming down. Unless I let them all go during a tragic scene that comes along in the play. That would tell the audience around me that I was moved by the story, and nothing more. In that sad scene, no one would know that I was really crying over you because my memory is too vivid and I remember EVERY. DAMN. ENCOUNTER. Like it were yesterday. From the walk to school back from Starbucks on Valentine’s Day, to the time that my hormones made me angry at you for giving me See’s Candies fudge, down to closing night, when things didn’t seen right, but I brushed it aside when you held me at your torso and kissed me behind the school building.

Do you remember?

Because I do.

But I wouldn’t dare tell you.


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