We were always so good at pretending, weren’t we? We would always climb rooftops and pretend that we were stargazers, christening constellations with our favorite songs. Look, there was Somebody Else. There was Nobody’s Home. There was Chasing Cars.
We would pretend we were souls from the 50s, reincarnated into another life — into another happy ending. We would pretend we were art critics, as if we knew **** about Klimt; as if we could tell apart baroque from classical. We would tell each other our weirdest dreams and analyze them, as if we were Freud or something, that misogynistic pig. Oh, you dreamt about us drowning together in the Black Lake? Oh, that means we were gonna have *** tonight, in the absence of the moon. We would pretend that we’ve circled the whole world and that Italy’s got the ******* blandest pizza. We would pretend that we were rock stars, surfing on the crowd.
We would pretend that we’d read the classics. Was that Harry or Henry in The Picture of Dorian Gray? Yeah, Hamlet was pretty cool, but who was Ophelia? ******* pseudo-intellectuals, we were. Nonetheless, I loved pretending with you. We loved pretending that the whole world wasn’t crashing down — that we weren’t stuck in this ******* of a small town, and that the world spun for us. We loved pretending that everything would be okay — that we could leave someday without looking back. We loved pretending that our lives weren’t all over the place. We loved pretending that we were the brave ones, that we could **** ourselves by 40 because the world wouldn’t be kind when we’re all old and saggy.
We loved pretending that we were too cool for mental breakdowns and for any kind of feeling. Honey, we loved pretending that we were psychopaths, too voided for love and all that other crap — that we hated clichés, while doing the most romanticized clichés anyway. We loved pretending that this was where the chapter would end, and that we were together in our make-believe ending. We loved pretending that we were the ones who stayed and made it.
Now, sometimes, I would pretend that we did. Other times, it would be me pretending I was all there ever was — that you never were here to pretend with me, and that I was okay. I would pretend that the rooftop wasn’t too high, and that I didn’t need your help to climb — that the company of city lights and the empty space were enough, honey they never were. Honey, I would pretend too that I never missed you. But I did.
I always did. More than that I would ever admit.
I would look at the stars, the ones we named but I guess they all had already fallen to the earth. You said that when you died, you would live in the shooting stars so that you could crash to the earth and come back to me. But it had been more than a decade since the angels took you away and I no longer stargazed, except tonight. And maybe, just maybe, when I would catch a glimpse of a falling star, I still wouldn’t wish that you didn’t chase your meds with *****. I wouldn’t wish that we didn’t find bubbles coming out of your mouth, like they were a part of your soul. I wouldn’t wish that I didn’t see you die. I wouldn’t wish that you were okay; we both knew we wouldn’t have clicked if one of us was happy or okay.
Heaven, hell, we didn’t believe in those. But when a star would fall unto my chest, I would wish that wherever you were right now or wherever you would be in the next life, darling, you would no longer feel the need to pretend.
And with no lies, no masks, no pretenses, I loved you. Here. And in the next. And in the lives after that, until we lived in one where we would both have the courage to abandon all pretense and just sit on a different rooftop, sharing silence — sharing honest thoughts — sharing the luster of distant stars. And tomorrow, our demons wouldn’t rise with the sun. And we would be okay.