I Didn’t Think About You Once Today
I didn’t think about you once today, for the first time since I met you. When I woke up this morning, my first thought was simply that it was too cold to get out of bed; I did not wish that you were there beside me. I went to the closet and got dressed without thinking about whether or not you liked the shirt I was putting on, didn’t think about whether you’d already seen me in the sweater I layered over it. I skipped breakfast, as I always do, and I didn’t hear your voice chastising me in the back of my head, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” I just glanced at the clock, grabbed my keys, and shut the door firmly behind me.
I didn’t see anyone who reminded me of you on the train to work. I didn’t hear anyone who had your laugh, didn’t see anyone sporting the same shoes you wear, didn’t catch a whiff of anyone wearing the same perfume as you. I just sat there quietly reading my book, never once wondering whether or not you’d enjoy reading it, too. When the automated voice announced my stop, I got up and stepped out on to the platform without turning around to wave goodbye to you, or anyone, as the train whizzed off down the tunnel behind me. I simply headed quickly up the stairs toward fresh air, toward daylight.
At the office, I answered phones, got coffee, checked emails, sorted paperwork, chatted with coworkers, spaced out, got stuff done, all without interruption. When my boss handed me a bunch of work right before it was time to leave, I didn’t have to suppress the urge to text you and complain, didn’t even think back to a time when something like this would have made me late to have dinner with you. I made it home eventually, and when I got there I called up a friend and asked if he wanted to come over and watch television with me. He did. We laughed, we made popcorn, we had a great time, and not once did either of us mention your name.
I went out for a late-night run with my iPod on shuffle, and I heard a song we danced to together at our favorite bar, the night you wore a dark gray t-shirt and I ordered my usual, one shot too many. It started playing right as I crossed Ocean Boulevard, my feet hitting the pavement in tune with the beat, but that memory of you didn’t accompany it this time. As I traveled down the sidewalk, I looked out across the water to the sparkling lights down on the pier, and I didn’t care that you weren’t with me, didn’t care that you were missing out on such a pretty sight. I just kept on running.
As I’m lying here in bed, about to close my eyes and drift off to a place where I will not dream of you, this is when I realize I haven’t thought about you today. Some might say this realization ends my streak-of-not-thinking-of-you, that I’ve inadvertently let your ghost return to haunt me once again, but this is not true at all. See, in thinking about how I haven’t thought of you, I’m not really thinking about you at all — I’m finally thinking about me. You’re just an idea now, a shadow, something I’m only considering as it relates to my own evolution. I’m recalling what I used to be like when you were all I ever thought about, when you seemed to own my thoughts morning, noon, and night. I’m thinking about the tear-stained pillows and empty wine bottles that decorated my room in the time I spent trying to get over you. I’m remembering how badly I longed to free myself from your spell, but secretly believed that day would never come.
And yet, that day is here, that day is today, the day I did not think of you, and I cannot help but smile, for I am finally free. Everyone said it would happen eventually, and I’m happy to report they were right (as they almost always are). I’ve moved on, as we all seem to do eventually. The best part is, I doubt I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow either.
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But when you’re on day nine of a trip and you have zero clean clothes, you’re struggling to remember if the last time you showered was Tuesday or Wednesday, and you haven’t worn make up or brushed your hair in a week, you bond with these people.
Ideally, we would be cognizant enough of the need that exists in our communities—for children, for veterans, for the homeless and the hungry, for the disadvantaged—because the circumstances through which most people find themselves in a position of need are generally out of their control.
Allow yourself to mourn the loss of love, and heal from those wounds. Don’t run into the arms of another lover, you will not find peace there: you will only accumulate more to heal from.
Prior to September 15, 1983, buying items in bulk made you look like either a criminal suspect or an obsessive hoarder.