Sophie Henry

We sit on the sofa, our fingers shiny and sticky, coated in butter from our now-eaten popcorn. It’s just past 2 a.m. on a Monday night, yet we stay sitting side-by-side, holding mugs of hot tea in our hands — mine cinnamon, his vanilla. We speak quietly so as to not wake anybody, whispering about our week’s exams and my latest crush and his family’s new house. I wish it could last forever. I wish time could stop and we could stay, buttery fingers against warm mugs, legs crossed on the sofa, clad in fuzzy sweaters and patterned pajama pants. 

I wish it could last forever, but I know that morning will come, and with it, the busy sidewalks, the rush to classes, the chilly autumn weather and the green-turned-yellow leaves. Because I suppose nothing lasts forever. 

In truth, I think there’s a strange human obsession with this idea of forever. Best friends forever. Be mine forever. Forever home. Forever love. 

Perhaps there’s something appealing about the thought of a guarantee — a guarantee that no matter what you say or what you do, one thing will stay the same. Or, perhaps we find a special sense of comfort within predictability — a sense of comfort in knowing that at the end of every long Monday, you can sit side-by-side on the sofa, sharing mugs of hot tea and bags of buttery popcorn, speaking quietly as the sky turns dark and the entire world seems to fade. 

It’s a charming thought, this thought of forever. Sometimes I even manage to convince myself that it’s more than just a thought. Years will pass and I will age and change, but some things will remain the same. Some things must remain the same. The way he and I race to dinner and laugh at strangers and talk for hours. The way she takes far too long to get ready, and I spend far too much time complaining. The way we drive on empty roads amidst empty nights, watching as the dark trees and the bright stars fly by. Some things must remain the same. Or perhaps this is just me — just us — trying to find forever in a world that was meant to be temporary. 

Because, in the end, maybe we were all just meant to live for the temporary. Maybe we were meant to collide for just an instant — like two sparkling asteroids floating in free space, merging hard and fast, leaving only traces of dust behind. Maybe within a year, this — him and her and you and I — will all just be a distant memory. But maybe that’s how it was always meant to be. 

I shrug my fuzzy blanket off my shoulders and throw my teabag into the trash, and I tell him that I’m going to sleep. He stands and we fold our blankets together, laying them back on the sofa, and he says goodnight. I say goodnight back, hoping that this lasts forever — like two sparkling asteroids crashing into one another amidst a field of darkness. Except this time, I hope they’ll stick.