To my dear friend.

You quietly knocked on my door one night. You cried quick tears and suddenly there was laughter. I felt happy that mine was the door you chose. From that day on the world was kinder. One night you held my trembling body as I told you. You always knew what to say. Your every word felt like a soft touch. 

It would take you two and a half hours to do your make-up. We lived in a pocket of chaos the week after you cut your hair. Around your wrists there were incapacitating leather straps of anxiety. They tied you in place, prevented you from moving. You walked so gracefully still. Louis held both of our hands for the space of night. A fever dream. You listened to my long pouring out. Your voice could hold a key for hours, knitting a long, high note. The note was laughter. Canon in D. On Christmas we slept, kept by the same warmth. 

In Barcelona we walked through streets and streets full of joy. I was soaked like a sad, drowned pickle the night we organised the trip. You and Sheids held my hand. We had a silent friendship until January. Pottery was our coming out plan. I remember how you laughed about my Iurban Outfitters. The many times we cried tucked into each other. Juxtaposition of layers, stacking dolls. Your little brother’s laughter. Your father’s resemblance to Woody Allen. The birthday cards, heavy with love. Two hands barely touching in an abstract by Picasso. I thought the drawing was yours. I hope to find it someday, lost in a box. We were children and quietly sat, mindlessly enjoying our love.

You were my place to dwell. A room of cushioned, white walls. A first home. I sometimes get a subtle hint of the lingering smell my clothes had after you had worn them for the day. It was so distinct. You have to know that your call would turn any disaster zone into a playground. That in your presence I never had to search for words. That nothing in the world could make me judge you. 

Sometimes I stop in the middle of a thought and wonder Where is…? I hope you’re happy. Has your brother moved to Glasgow? I don’t know. You are awfully quiet. I understand. I am quiet too.

A pearl of a memory: an endless necklace. Your mother’s birthday in Soho. Erin Brokovitch in your living room. Sleeping with Ale tucked in between us. A quadruple hug. We are now new, and far. That phone call from my father in February pierced a hole in my eye socket. Infiltrated acid. She. She. She had-. My stomach and liver dissolved. They poured out slowly. I couldn’t digest. I opened my mouth so wide and there was a scream of: nothing. There are some things language cannot hold. By July everything was acrid. At last, the acid poured out of my mouth into toilet seats. I would have very much liked for it to have been different. It just wasn’t.

I wanted to say: thank you. I love you. I believe in you. You are a good friend, a good person. You will always have a home in me. I don’t like to see your pictures too much because it hurts me. The playlist you made for me has disappeared from my Spotify. The realisation was sour like a bee sting. It’s okay. I feel the love all over again. I am very, very grateful.

Sofía Danailov Esteban


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