Forgetting They Ever Existed
When you share enough experiences with a person, a special, esoteric bond is created. The amount of time doesn’t always play as large of a role as the quality of those periods. A memorable month surely leaves a bigger impact than a dull year. So during these stretches of years, months, days and seconds we create memories. Some might be euphoric while others are painful. Either way we’re left with happy thoughts, emotional wounds, or some combination of the two.
When we become closely involved with a person, it’s as if we write on our own hearts. If we’re a part of an insignificant, purely physical, emotionally detached relationship; that writing is probably in pencil. At any time we can grab our eraser and wipe away every last letter with ease. We’d never think twice about it. But when there are special bonds, secrets shared, tendencies learned and feelings involved, that leads to crucial changes. The writing is different. It’s marked in ink, rendering an eraser useless. Not to mention the fact that our swipes at the writings are often feeble, because deep down we’d rather not be deleting these thoughts, but we feel forced to. Because the passion isn’t being reciprocated, the timing isn’t right, or some issue that’s beyond our control.
When our memories with another are written in ink, the damage is done. The permanence is undeniable, so we must cope in a manner that provides us with some comfort. Since we can’t erase, altering the writings is an option. In the same way that a crafty, mischievous child dupes their parents by changing the “F” on a pop quiz to an “A,” we take our current sentiments and mold them into something beautiful. Sometimes we can convince ourselves that our modifications are factual until we forget that they aren’t reality. If that works for you, consider yourself lucky. For the rest of us, there are those painful moments in which we can fool others, but not ourselves into believing the disguise. We know the “A” is still an “F,” and we’re not particularly proud of lying. We know the happiness is a façade and the bad memories are still there, but the temporary pretending is for the greater good.
It’s difficult to erase a person, especially in this day and age. We can walk away, we can avoid their favorite restaurants, change our gym and make a conscious effort to avoid running into them – but have that all ruined the second we go online. With a plethora of social networking sites, you can run but you can’t hide. There always seems to be some way for that person’s existence to find it’s way into your daily serving of disappointment. And just when you’d gone a full hour without thinking a single thought about that person, so-and-so tags their location on Facebook, recoating any faded ink memories and negating your erasing progress.
There’s always the whiteout method, but many consider it rude. Just like whiteout covers an ink blunder, we do so with our feelings in this technique. We cover them by removing that person from every social network they might appear on, deleting their contact information from your phone, forcing ourselves to avoid checking on them and basically moving forward with life as if they’re dead and gone. It’s requires great willpower, but it’s a classic out-of-sight, out-of-mind adaptation.
The qualm with any of these methods is the simple fact that writing something in ink makes it impossible to erase. We can change its physical appearance, we can cover it in a masking goop, but at the end of the day, we still know it’s there. And really, us knowing is all that matters. Once a person has experienced ink-worthy emotions, they can’t erase what’s been done, seen, heard, or felt. To expunge someone that once meant something major to you from your memories is teetering on impossible. To cope via whatever technique feels comforting, until the ink is eroded, weathered, meaningless, or nearly invisible is the best that we can strive for.
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Even as I write this now I am debating whether or not to erase it all together.
When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I love the story I can tell to my next lover, about my ex-lover, about how beautiful things were, how intense, how storybook, what a couple we were, and how you gradually, inexplicably, painfully, bit by bit, disappeared.
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
I was 24 and, while not gay, ever since college I had been getting more attention from gay men than from heterosexual women.