Sometimes I forget that you’re a real person, instead of just a painful memory. That’s all you’ve become to me, really. An instrument of cruelty that twisted and melted and shaped me into someone who would never be with you again.
Still, there you are. A few recent pictures, some links to your favorite music, a comment or two from the same immature jerks you’ve been friends with forever. That’s all you are to me now: a page full of who you might be on paper, if you took out all the faults that truly make you who you are.
Of course I looked at your pictures. Honestly, you look pretty much the same, except now I’m not there telling you to shave off that uneven fuzz you like to think of as facial hair. And it seems like you’ve lost weight, but I didn’t think you had anything to lose. It’s your face that looks thinner, I suppose. Your cheeks are more hollow, and it makes me wonder what drugs you’ve been doing lately.
Anyway, I scrolled far enough into your pictures that I found a picture of us. It took me by surprise to be honest. The girl in the picture, well, she looked a lot like me. Her smile seemed real. Her eyes seemed genuine. For a moment, I just paused. Studied her. Wondered how this girl who was so hurt, so messed up, so beaten down, could still look so similar to me. I’ve taken a lot of pictures with my current boyfriend lately, so I guess it was strange to see someone else standing next to me, holding me, smiling at me.
And it’s then that I remember how much I loved you. How hard I tried. How much I sacrificed. How little I cared about my own well-being, my own confidence, my own dignity, if it only meant that you would let it all be as easy as I knew it could be. If I put up with you being an asshole about something… no big deal if it meant we didn’t fight. If I let you tell me that my hurt feelings were just me being dramatic… who cares if in the long run we could stay together.
I look at the girl in those pictures. Who was so good at smiling about the smallest victories while she was losing the war. Who wouldn’t let anyone tell her that he was the wrong one, because she knew him better than he even knew himself. Who hid away her independence, her opinionated side, her determination, because it might keep her from being with him. Who is she?!
Surely she can’t be me. Truly I couldn’t have convinced myself that it would somehow be worth it. There’s just no way I could’ve believed that it would someday get better.
And then… Then, I really see her. I see her as a little girl who was afraid of nothing and no one. I see her as a kid who loved to read and write, who was wise beyond her years. I see a girl who loved a challenge, who held onto integrity over anything else. I see a young woman with dreams and goals that could not be contained. I see a woman in the making who was pretty, yes, but beautiful in all the most subtle ways.
You didn’t deserve her. You never did. Not her smile when she was happy or her tears when she was sad. Not her spirit when she was excited or her passion when she was angry. You didn’t deserve her forgiveness. You didn’t deserve the four years of her life that she gave to you freely. You didn’t deserve the time you took from her friends and family, time she will never get back.
At your best, you didn’t deserve to have her. At your worst, you didn’t deserve to even know her.
I wonder, sometimes, how often you think of me. How often you compare others to me, or who I used to be. I wonder if you realize, yet, how easy you had it back then. I wonder if you crave the power you used to have over me. I wonder if anyone has been foolish enough to give it to you again. Somehow, I don’t think so.
I wonder if every once in awhile, you look at me. The links on my profile to the music I like, surprisingly similar to yours. The comments that my friends make, the memories that they tell. I wonder if you look at who I am now, written down to show who I would be, if all of the weakness of my past were wiped away.
I wonder if you look at my most recent pictures. The ones of me and him. I wonder if you see him and wonder how you were ever lucky enough to stand in that place. Somehow, I doubt it.