Underrated Heartache

I’ve always been the backup friend.

The one that people turned to when

No one else responded and please can you pick me up?

The one that walked in the grass or trailed behind

Because the sidewalk wasn’t wide enough.

The one who was always there whether you noticed me or not,

And would say yes to anything you asked,

Even horror movies on the blackest nights.

The one that wanted to make memories,

Pressed against the barricade and screaming the same song

We listened to for the first time on your floor,

Our adolescent selves drawn to music that made us

Want to be a part of something bigger.


But then the thing that was bigger was going away

Was leaving everything behind

Was saying goodbye.

And I–I wanted to stay.

And I wanted to make those memories.

And I wanted to be the one you called in the middle of the night

When you needed somebody but I had to go.

I had to go ten hours away where you

Couldn’t reach me and where I was

Only a phone call away–I promise.

But then I kept letting your calls go to

Voicemail and I kept leaving your texts on read

And I kept saying I was going on adventures and

Living my life, that I was happy, posting pictures

Of my friends and sunsets and snow on the ground.


But really I stayed in bed and

I wrapped myself in blankets and

Stared at the wall and put in my earbuds and

Drowned out the noise of the world with the same

Songs we listened to all those years ago.

And I couldn’t admit it to myself

That maybe all I wanted was to go home.

That maybe I made the wrong choice

And maybe I wanted you instead.


Anna Stowe

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