• Memory

    by  • November 11, 2017 • * Safe for Work *, Goodbye • 0 Comments

    Broken is the word that first jumps into my head when I think of what I am now that you are gone. Shattered is how I feel whenever I think of you.
    I think of you often- your hands in my hair and your lips on my forehead and your eyelashes brushing my cheek. Your smile and your laugh and your arms tight around my waist, never letting me go. That silver bracelet I never took off, now hidden in a drawer full of soccer gear.
    The problem is that I remember everything; the problem lies completely in what I can’t forget.
    I’m not entirely convinced I want to forget.
    I don’t want to forget you- I don’t want to forget those happy moments, the shy smiles and that first kiss back in March when we snuck out of class to meet in the hallway. I don’t want to forget the letters I wrote you or how it felt to fall asleep wearing your shirt, breathing you in and pretending you were with me.
    But at the same time, there are things I do want to forget. I feel guilty about this- I feel guilty for wanting to wipe the slate of the bad moments, the times where my stomach was left in knots and I cried late into the night, never able to fall asleep. I want to forget packing your things into that white garbage bag because there was so much of it- so much of you, scattered throughout my life- that it wouldn’t fit in a normal-sized plastic one. I want to forget the times you told me you didn’t want to talk to me, and the times I panicked over stupid things that I knew would make you mad, and the times we stayed up fighting so late that I blacked out, exhausted, in the middle of a conversation, pissing you off even more the next morning. I want to forget the times you told me what things I shouldn’t do, the times you asked me not to wear something, the times you hinted- or said outright- that you didn’t like something about me. I want to forget ever reading the words annoying in relation to me. I want to forget apologizing a thousand times over for things that weren’t my fault because I knew saying sorry was the easiest way to make you incrementally less upset with me.
    I made a list for you once, of all the reasons I loved you. I put every single thing I could think of- though there were still hundreds more- onto little scraps of purple and blue and pink paper and put them all in a glittery mason jar and gave it to you as a present. You loved it.
    You loved me.
    I was making a book for you too- I forgot about that, but I just found the bookmark again, over a month later. I think it was going to be either a Valentine’s Day or first-anniversary present.
    I never got a Valentine’s Day with you. We were a month too late for 2017 and we didn’t come close to 2018. Hell, we didn’t even make it to Halloween together.
    The problem with us was that when it came to counting time together, there was almost two dates we could’ve used. October 14 was when we first became friends, when we first started talking every single day; March 13 was our first date, when you came to my house after we hung out together and met my family.
    Of course, when we became friends in October you had a girlfriend, so that’s not really allowed to count for anything. Looking back after you broke up with her in January, you kind of hated her. You almost refused to call her by name, just Satan.
    When you broke up with me, I thought of her. I’d never known her- and all the things I did know were bad things, corrupted by your bitter feelings. She’d cheated on you; she’d hated when you talked to your female friends, like me and D; she’d just been described to me as a generally horrible person. And maybe she was, but I almost felt bad for her. Because before that moment, she had been your ex, and I had been your girlfriend, and there had been a huge division between the two of us because you loved me now. I didn’t even know if you’d ever used that word with her- you’d dated for like two years, I think, so you guys were a bit more serious than we ever got the chance to be- but even if you had, you didn’t anymore, because you had me. But then you texted me that day and it was all over and suddenly the I love yous didn’t mean anything and I was thinking about her, because we’d become the same.
    BN. She used to follow me on Instagram, you know. She’d DMed me about Girl Scout cookies, and we’d talked the day you broke up, about cookie money and Tagalongs and you. But then you’d broken up and she was gone from your Instagram and I had this tiny tiny bit of hope inside me, because for the first time since I’d developed this massive crush on you, there was like this actual small chance of you liking me back, which had never been a possibility before.
    And with one text- a screenshot, nothing more- you brought me down to the same level as her. With that text, I became part of your past, and I couldn’t even do anything about it. Hell, I was asleep at the time, and my mom woke me up to tell me. By the time I’d realised what you’d meant by it all- that you were gone, and I was alone- it was too late for me to really do anything. You were in class and I wasn’t supposed to be on my phone because concussion and my mom was telling me it was going to be okay and that you were a sucky person for doing that to me, because she thought that would make me feel better but really it just made me feel worse because you aren’t a sucky person, you never were and I don’t think you ever could be.
    Let me tell you what I think (you don’t really need to let me, because you’ll never actually see this). I think that we fell in love very fast. I’d had a crush on you for months before you even looked at me that way, and you said we were a long time coming and that you were just ultra comfortable around me. You always wanted more, more, more; I always gave it to you, at some point or another, because I wanted you to be happy, and when you were happy, I was happy. Sometimes the more that you wanted gave me anxiety, but as long as we stayed at each step for a decent amount of time before moving on to something new and bigger, I managed it okay. After all, I wasn’t the only one with anxieties- you had plenty of your own, little things you couldn’t stand or didn’t trust. They got in the way of us, our insecurities. I was scared to speak up, and you were scared I was hiding things.
    So this is what I think. I think we jumped into things so fast that we were a wreck from the start. Hell, I spent the duration of our first fight- it was through text, always through text- at drama club ignoring what I was supposed to be choreographing and crying when I thought no one would see. (Everyone saw.) We are both emotional people, J- we both fell hard and fast and felt every second of it. Maybe it was because it had only been two months since you and Bailee had broken up; maybe you just weren’t ready for something new, despite liking me enough to ask me out and deal with my shit for six months. Maybe we were too different, or you hated how little I spoke, or you didn’t like our schedules, or college made you into someone who didn’t have time for an insecure high school soccer player who couldn’t have her phone at night. Immature, in your eyes. A teenager with her priorities completely out of order. After all, I chose a sport over you, over a human being, and that is not what you do to people you love, do you remember telling me that? I’m sure you do. I’m also sure that you don’t remember me telling you back in May that I was for sure joining the team, and you saying you were happy for me. You knew how terrible my freshman year was; you knew how nervous I was to go back, but also how excited I was at the same time. I guess you forgot, though, because over the course of the summer you continually told me that playing soccer was a bad idea for our relationship and to quit while I was ahead. I spent my last high school summer stressing about whether or not to play this sport, because I wanted to listen to you but I also wanted to do something, to be active, to be a part of something bigger than just me or us.
    In some ways, I think we were too similar to be some big endgame relationship. People joked around when we started dating that we were just genderbent versions of each other, a carbon copy other half. But two of the exact same thing don’t fit together; they don’t match up. Yes, we both loved books and obscure music and were generally quiet but occasionally snarky and intended English majors who constantly joked around with our creative writing teacher. Yes, we both were smart but passed classes with a sort of natural, I was up until 2am doing this because I didn’t feel like doing it in class way. Yes, we were both insomniacs and procrastinators and equally a bit OCD. But all those similarities… I wasn’t sure if they were a good thing or a bad thing.
    I still don’t know; these days all my brainpower goes towards forgetting instead of memorizing.
    Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’m not actively trying to forget, I’m just trying to push it all out of the front of my mind so that you’re not automatically what I think of in every situation. I want to listen to music again; I want to write personal narratives without making them all sound like this; I want to go to drive through Winsted; I want to see grayish Toyota pickup trucks without panicking and thinking it’s you (because one time it was). I want to do things without the anxiety attack that comes with any memory of you.
    And yeah, there are some things I never want to forget. The little quips I’ve saved screenshots of and read over so many times that I know our lines by heart; the stories you wrote that I still have in my Google Drive; that first kiss and all the ones that came after; playing video games and laughing and eating sour candy and curling up with my head on your chest; you pressing butterfly kisses to my forehead and wrist and neck, wherever you could reach.
    That sense of home, of being completely safe in your arms, is a feeling that’ll always stay with me, I think. Even if I never see you again, even if I go to college and never come home, even if I delete those screenshots and pictures of us and allow you to fade from my memory. Maybe one day I’ll wear that silver bracelet and not think about you or about how much it used to hurt.
    I hope I can get to that point. I hope you can too.
    I hope those books I gave you stay on your shelf, that you read them and enjoy them and don’t let thoughts of me ruin the stories they are trying to tell. I hope that you don’t throw them away or rip out the pages where I wrote you little notes or burn that little bookmark I slid into that fifty-cent copy of A Thousand Splendid Suns. I’d like to think that you would take those pieces of me and hide them away, but not get rid of them entirely; that you wouldn’t destroy those books or anything else you found. You probably have about sixteen of my hair ties lying around; I’m sure there were bobby pins and crumpled pieces of paper and maybe a pen in the pockets of the hoodies I gave back to you. You have pages and pages of my writing, too- I gave you almost everything, for whatever reason, because I was hurting and concussed and not thinking entirely straight and maybe I thought it would make a difference (it didn’t). I’m sure you threw those away though. That’s not something you- you, who burned your copy of A Room of One’s Own because you simply didn’t like it- would do. You don’t keep what you don’t want, J- I’ve learned this. Even when it’s me.

    Related Post

    Leave a Reply