We used to talk in sticky notes. We were both introverted and unstable enough for it to become second nature to us: to speak in this strange language of pink and green and yellow. If we were to run out, it was, obviously, an unspoken ritual for us to drive until we found an office supply store or, if it was late at night, we would hope for something, anything, open 24 hours.
We had accidentally stumbled on to this
unusual form of communication. You had always liked the idea of talking without actually saying anything. So I went along with it. Each day I would try to find a new way to speak.
Hand gestures didn't go so well because, sadly, you had always had a problem with foreign languages. I didn't understand the complexities of mouthing words, and you never mastered in Facial Expression.
So, naturally, we fell into writing notes, but our hands cramped and our eyes hurt from looking at all the feelings. We had needed another way, something simple and short, so we didn't have to sense so much.
You had "forgot" that you had bought the sticky notes weeks before. I thought it was a good idea, so we never turned back. We had conquered the language of small snippets and ideas so fast that it was almost frightening.
After years, the notes sometimes stated sayings or quotes like "thought of you yesterday and cried." or "when the world looks to me and questions what is wrong I will yell at the top of my lungs 'i am in love! i am in love!'" (You thought they were clever.)
Other times they simply stated, "need milk" or "movies?" they were laid out in the open, like on my desk, or the counter, on our bed, and occasionally on the fridge.
Strangely enough those where the ones the ones that I held dear to me, the ones I would look at for hours.
I never ceased to be amazed at your handwriting when you wrote those quick scraps of thought. I fell in love with you for it. Your writing, that is. I knew everything about it, like how you dotted your "i" with hearts and smiley faces, or how at the end of a word you had a slightly suicidal line dashing downward (like you where writing just a little too fast and your pen dragged too close to the paper.)
We didn't talk, after we had started it, not really. I mean, your scratchy morning voice and that out-of-yet-in-tune singing was what I heard when you opened your mouth, but talking was not was we did. We didn't speak.
That's why the last one floored me. It stated simply: "hey, we need to talk."
And all could think was 'Talk? Why would you do that? We don't need it. I don't need it.'
When I found the sticky note it was neon green just laying on the laminate counter top, reflecting off the sunshine yellow rays of our kitchen walls, I picked it up and immediately felt discomfort twisting in my stomach. There were no smiley faces, no tiny hearts, and all suicidal lines disappeared.
As I made my way to our room the tension did not ease. I found you on the bed, white comforter floating out around you; you were face down, breathing deeply, looking ethereal in your silence. I waited at the door, not wanting to enter a room so negative with your dried tears and unspoken words.
"Hey," you rasped as you moved to sit on the side of the bed, inviting me to sit next to you, the sun was shining down on your face making you look beautiful and alien in the plain room.
" I said, moving to the bed to sit next to you, words fitting strangely on my tongue. "What did you want to say?"
"Cancer," you had said roughly, not wanting to talk any more than I did.
A lump formed in my throat and tears pooled in my eyes. "How long?" I had looked around the room not wanting to meet your eyes.
"Three months," your voice cracked, and tears started to spill down.
A sob pulled its way out of me, and we pulled each other close, my head against your chest as you rubbed small circles in my back. More than anything, I want to know why you did that, you were the one that needed the comfort, not me.
"M-maybe they c-can fix It." I mumbled into your chest as my throat closed up.
"And maybe they'll find a cure." You had said bitterly, wiping roughly at your quickly drying tears.
"I was just being-"
"Yeah, I know." You had said softly.
You stood up, pulling me along with you. Immediately I nuzzled my face into the crook of your neck.
"It hurts, you know," you started, "it's like this stabbing deep in my stomach: this pain. To know- know-"
"Yeah," I cut in, breathing against your neck, wanting to talk about anything else.
"I love you," you whispered.
I scoffed, "Tell me something I don't know." I said finally meeting your pale blue eyes.
"I love running my hands through your hair when you sleep." You confessed.
"So you want to play this game?" I questioned. "I was the one who stole your green shoelaces."
You chuckled, "Yeah, I know. I found them months ago
I had rolled my eyes at that, "I hate your mother."
"I hate your dad," you shrugged, "and I already knew that."
"I sit by the bathroom door everyday just so I can hear you sing." I breathed.
"I ate the last piece of pie on thanksgiving," you smiled sheepishly.
"There's no one else who lives here, of course you did."
"You smell like honey."
"You smell like sunflowers." I began, "Sunflowers and honeysuckle. Wh- when. Just. I-I'm going to miss that." I finished, burying my face in your shirt, trying to stop the onslaught of tears but not succeeding.
Sunflowers. I still smell them after all these years it's like it's soaked into the walls, in my clothes, even buried deep in my skin. When I visit your grave, they're the only flower I ever leave.
There are other things left of you. The unicorn keychain, the colors chipped and faded, I still have your oversized red sweater, and your blue and white pillow that you could never sleep without.
Crying is no longer an issue, but, it is. You would think that I would cry when I smell you everyday, or when I hear the low wails of your voice (secretly recorded as you were singing in the shower.) But, no, I cry at little things, like neon green sticky notes.
I still find them, you know? The sticky notes. I find them everywhere; under our bed, at the bottom of cereal boxes, in the attic, hidden in my shoes, or occasionally floating down from the ceiling like snow.
But there's only one on my nightstand, no longer sticky or neon green, it has warped little circles. And states simply: "hey, we need to talk."