But Taylor, what about 23?

We dance to the thumping rhythm

of a Taylor Swift remix

22, she sings

& we’re almost there.

New licenses hot off the press

bent to fit the curve of your body

in the back pocket of your skinny jeans

pressed unceremoniously against the stranger behind you

sweat dripping down your forehead

fat droplets of leftover adolescent self-consciousness

plastering hair to your cheeks

dripping onto the floor

mixing with newly legal, sloppily spilled PBR

Our stilettos stick to the floor

as we teeter back home

to a den of chemistry homework and dirty school clothes

“we’re happy, free, confused, and lonely”

sings Taylor

& we join in, high on bumping bass

and limitless freedom

and stray pheromones

and glitter stuck to our bare feet.

But 22 rolls in like a thunderstorm

arms extended, chin up

the wild sky demands your eyes

it’s the morning after anything:

a kiss

a goodbye

a song

a final exam

a kickass donut

It’s the walk away

it’s the furrowed brows over searching green eyes

it’s the memory of a heartbreak

it’s the bouquet of flowers on the front porch

it’s the sunrise on a long drive

or a last kiss

it’s the humanness of it all

At 21, the sticky dance floor

lays claim to that which we abandoned:

bubble gum wrappers

and adulthood

and spirituality

and the possibility of sleep

At 22, the floodgates open

“miserable and magical” she sings

and for once, I understand

the beauty is overwhelming

life with intensity

deluged with light, everything hurts

The goodbyes are poetry.

Watching the sun rise on my new city

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