Do you remember that key you gave me? Old, rusty and foreboding. Do you remember what it unlocked? It opened that box in the attic. The box that was stuffed with old comic books, bubblegum wrappers and vinyl records.
We sat up in that dusty attic everytime I came over when we were kids. And we would play those records, those old bebop tunes, and we would read the comics, giggling and smiling at each other. Those were the best days. The days when we would lay on the grass and watch the sun set, drinking coca cola and pretending that we were the superheroes in the comic books.
We did that everyday and we never got bored. It went on like that for years…until we grew up. And boys weren’t supposed to play with girls, and girls weren’t supposed to play with boys. Boys were supposed to play sports and act like didn’t care about girls. They were supposed to smoke and drink and be cool and confident. Girls were supposed to paint their nails and read fashion magazines, and giggle and gossip about the cute, smooth and confident boys. There was no time for milkshakes with maraschino cherries on top and those black licorice pipes that fooled the grown-ups. No time to run around the yard with squirt guns and lick-and-stick tattoos. And there was definitely no time to sit in a dusty attic with a box, laughing at comic books and listening to vinyl records.
Then we both went to college and we forgot about the good days. We forgot about the coca cola sunsets…and we forgot about each other. We found upperclass jobs, and we started dating other people, sipping martini’s at all of the happening places. And I remember passing you on the street one day, giving you a hug and my phone number, and telling you to come over or call anytime. And you did. You came by one evening with your brown hair falling in ringlets, and your blue and green flecked eyes searching my apartment for something…
We sat at the kitchen table sipping coffee and catching up, me sitting opposite of you in my college football sweater. And we nibbled at Peak Freens and laughed until it was three o’clock in the morning. And then, all of a sudden, you grew real serious and asked me a question that anyone else might find silly and immature…but not me, not us. You asked me if I still had that rusty old key, the one that unlocked that box with all the stuff in it. I pulled it out of my pocket and you took it from me surprised that I had kept it, surprised that I had even remembered. And I told you that I never forgot, not really anyways, and that you had been on my mind since the that one day when I decided not to come over. Instead of listening to the vinyls and reading the comics with you, I chose to play football with my friends in the park because my friends pressured me…told me it wasn’t cool to hang out with girls like that.
And you smiled warmly and pushed back the kitchen chair, coming over to kiss my cheek. And I took you tightly inside my arms and I kissed your lips softly. And you looked up at me and whispered quietly, “I never forgot either.”