Sometimes I’d close my eyes, and you’d still be there. It felt natural, the way you consumed my life — they said things come in waves, and you came down crashing. Leaving me completely consumed. It wasn’t until the calm settled; that I had to face the aftermath. I wasn’t sure how to anticipate what was to come. And the quiet after the storm was not as inviting as they all claimed.

I still wake up on your side of the bed — not that you had a side per-say, it was always more yours than it was mine — the smell of you always lingering.

The comfortable discomfort of your baby hairs tickling the tip of my nose — my drowsed attempts to articulate a play-by-play of the unconscious escape from your pillow fortress to the nook between my head and left shoulder each morning.

Seven cycles later, you still lingered. The light blue pilling on the gray sheets, a remnant of the 3 pajama set you got in Dongdaemun, the ones you clearly overpaid for. I never admitted it, but they were cute, in an endearing way, the way they started to ware sheer three months in — you were convinced that they came that way. The same way I was convinced, I’d wake up to you each morning. Your baby hairs never under control. Your head in the same nook between my chin and left shoulder. The smell of you — always lingering.

The last thing I wanted was to look down and reflect, counting the ripples instead of seeing what was staring back at me.

“Perhaps we’ll meet again when we’re better for each other,” I thought, “or perhaps you were never a wave — but a riptide I had to fight to get out of, or maybe I’m still fighting.”

— Justin Ryan Kim, Waves