Dear Emily.

And so it has come again, the second orbit of this day around the sun. I’ve thought a lot about what I want to write to you, because we’ve written about this day for a while. We’ve blogged about it, we’ve talked about it over coffee and on the phone, we’ve agonized over it, and…

Without the rope.

I’ve never flown. I’m 21 years old and I’ve never been on a plane. Which is funny to me because I’ve run a 5k on a freaking runway. I’ve gone to the airport specifically to eat dinner and watch planes take off and land, and I’ve sat underneath the planes as they’re landing to take…

The in-between.

Yesterday morning, I woke up to new students moving into the apartment complex. Yesterday morning, I wasn’t one of them. I’m not sure if I remember the last time I wasn’t in a constant state of motion where college was concerned. I went from one college out of state to living back home with my…

You’re still here.

I felt this was important to tell you. You’re still here and have a heartbeat and breath in your lungs. The world is not a kind place. People are not going to play nice. There are going to be too many goodbyes. And somehow we’re still expected to play it off like we’re okay and…

The monsters turned out to be just trees.

For a moment I let myself stare at his name, bolded in black font, unopened on my lock screen. Just sitting there, like nothing had changed. Like we’d never stopped talking, like there had never been a year of radio silence between us. I opened it and read it and immediately laughed. Gut-deep laughed. One thing…

Give her a seat at the table.

There’s one seat at our table that stays vacant. You can’t sit with us. She stands on the outskirts of the room, awkward with a terrible sense of fashion and frizzy hair, and I cringe. I don’t just pretend she isn’t there; I pretend she never existed. I’ve never had a good relationship with her,…

Welcome to year 2.

I don’t know what it looked like when my expression shifted, when I rounded the stairs and saw him sitting on the couches. But I felt it in my body, like weights had been released. And as the weights fell, I did too. I collapsed into his arms, crying, uncontrollably, unashamedly. He let me cry. In…

Eyes wide open.

He likes his mornings slow and easy — coffee and a newspaper. He likes waking up with the sun. “I like waking up when things are still quiet and everything is peaceful,” he said. “Most of the world is still asleep. I want to wake up eager for the day and eager for what’s about to happen, and…

Room 401.

    I guess I just woke up one day and realized I didn’t need it anymore. I found other ways to channel how I felt. I talk to people. Professionals. Friends. Family. I’m being honest and open in a physical-not-digital world sort of way. And I still write my words. Just more condensed. Sometimes even more…

When the small voices have big megaphones.

I pull into the parking lot. You should have stayed at home. Get out of my car. Lock it. Throw the keys in my bag. Your hair looks frizzy tonight. You should’ve straightened it. I make my way to the doors. You didn’t catch the obvious dress code that everyone’s wearing a dress and you’re wearing…

Tabletop talks.

Her tears made a puddle on the clean white tabletop, and she dried them away with her sleeve. She asked if her mascara had smudged. I told her it had not. She’d never been an ugly crier. And she went silent, that silence that is hopefully, desperately, expecting the listener to extend advice, a hand, a…