My childhood best friend
asked me to marry him
every year of our lives
that we could speak
until we turned seventeen.
Seventeen was the year
his mama cheated on his daddy
after years of his daddy running around on her.
She must have gotten tired
and found some happiness on her own.
He quit believing in love
and white picket fences.
He told me, he loved me too much
to ever marry me and he couldn’t bear
if we ever did each other
like his mama and daddy.
He wanted to be a football star
and I, his lawyer wife.
But watching his family disintegrate
left his world view tainted and
playing ball didn’t seem so important
and neither did that girl he wanted to marry.
He found the same bitter I was born with
from never having the happy family.
It’s going on six years since I last held his hand
when he told me he was going to drive trucks
or maybe work on an oil rig.
I was transferring colleges,
still trying to be that lawyer I always promised.
I never did become a lawyer.
I didn’t even finish college.
I think of him most often when I
picture how I thought my life would have been.
Wonder if he doesn’t see me anymore
because I symbolize his life lost.
I hear he has kids now
and every time I travel back to our
tiny, country town I stand in the front yard
of my old house, look across to his
and see a handsome brown boy
hair full of curls, on one knee
begging his best friend to be his wife.
“Someday,” he would say,
“Someday, when you’re older and even prettier
and I’m big and tall and strong
and we’re still the bestest friends in the whole world.
I’m going to marry you and we’ll take care of each other, forever.
Someday, Jasmine, you’re going to be my wife.”