Madison Culpepper is a sophomore at Northwestern Community College and is 21 years old. She currently lives in Farmington, Connecticut. She studied creative writing at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and now studies Psychology with a minor in writing. She won two silver keys and one gold key in the Scholastic Writing Awards, is published by Fictional Cafe, and hopes to publish a poetry book someday.
Dear Old Friend
.....I stumbled upon old photos
.....of you on my Nintendo DS
.....a few weeks ago.
.....You always glared at me
.....because you hated getting
.....your photo taken, but I kept
.....the pictures in case you
.....came over again, so we could
.....talk until 2am and laugh over
.....your emo bangs and my braces.
.....My parents told me you were
.....bad news. They knew you were
.....going downhill after constantly
.....dying your hair and being home alone
.....while your mom worked
.....at the local bar. I know it doesn’t
.....seem like a good reason, but
.....the more hair you lost the more
.....I didn’t recognize you.
.....In high school you rarely showed up.
.....Some days you came in with
.....more cuts dragged across your
.....arms. I shivered at the thought of
.....your thighs and ankles because they
.....were once bare and clean.
.....I knew our friendship was over
.... when you started drinking
.....your mom’s collection of alcohol
.....and stopped lighting up my phone.
.....I texted you often, trying to help
.....you through a heavy depression.
.....I lost sleep when you kept saying
.....nothing will save me, I cut again
.....I’m not beautiful, I want to die.
.....In my eyes, I saw your glow
.....even though you refused to
.....and I cried with you.
.....We saw each other last June
.....at Walmart when you got off
.....your shift. You lost so much weight,
.....more piercings and tattoos made
.....a home in your skin. You said I
..... looked more like an adult.
.....I thought you looked like a stranger.
.....I wanted so badly to ask you
.....to sleepover, talk until 2am,
.....but you weren’t the same girl.
.....In seventh grade you became obsessed
.....with a boy who had Justin Bieber hair.
.....You watched his YouTube videos every
.....night and wanted so badly to be his.
.....I fell for him long before and tried to
.....hide the way my heart fluttered
.....when I saw him and he felt the same.
.....You gave me the nod of approval, it wasn’t
.....a big deal because I liked him first,
.....but you kept abusing yourself.
.....We’ve been dating since eighth grade.
.....You said you would never get over him
.....so you hooked up with all the wrong people to cope.
.....That was six years ago and now you
.....don’t feel any love for him. If anything
.....you’ve been supportive of our love
.....which is all I could hope for even
.....though we went our separate ways.
.....When I saw you last you were still happy
.....for the relationship I share, the person I’ve become,
.....and act like we are still friends when we don’t speak.
.....When I heard you got arrested a few months
.....back I cried. You had cocaine and were caught.
.....The drugs and the alcohol ripped you apart
.....and sent you into the backseat of a police car.
.....I wanted to tell my parents they were wrong,
.....that you were healthy and working towards
.....a brighter future, but all I saw was handcuffs.
.....Behind your icy eyes I still see beauty, kindness,
.....and a girl who deserves love. When I hugged
.....you goodbye that last time I didn’t want to let go.
.....I wanted to go back to 2012 when we were innocent,
.....careless, had endless sleepovers, and told
.....each other everything on our minds.
.....When I got home I took out my Nintendo DS,
.....looked at the photos of you and
.....teared up. I would do anything to go back
.....to that day when we were best friends
.....and not strangers.
I look into the mirror,
alone in my pink pajamas
panda slippers and
glossy blue eyes stare back
asking me the same question:
why don’t you party?
At twenty years old, I haven’t
received an invitation.
They know the minute I stand
in a crowded room, glasses clinking,
people laughing, music blaring,
I want to run away and lock
myself in the bathroom.
I wish I was the girl who knew
how to have fun, loosen up,
take a shot, dance too much,
but I guess I’m not a party girl.