I miss passing notes with you. I miss sitting down in French class, workbook perched at the end of my desk, pretending to be taking notes. I miss taking a clean sheet of loose-leaf (or, in a pinch, spiral notebook paper with little ripped pieces hanging off the edge) and starting to write. Dear X. Y Happened. I can’t wait until we get to do Z this weekend.
It didn’t matter what the note was about. What were we about, even? We were in high school. Any drama we had was inconsequential. Who didn’t get into AP Bio. Who we wanted to ask to Homecoming. What our moms were making us do this weekend. What we were going to wear to the football game on Friday.
And yet we continued to write them. Nearly every day, like clockwork. The intimate squares of paper that spelled out our lives. The painstakingly written confessions, questions, wonderings, and speculations. The declarations of friendship and loyalty.
I miss the anticipation after you told me you were writing me a super long note, but that it wouldn’t be finished until after AP European History. I miss the feel of a perfectly folded note in my hand. I miss hiding it under my papers during government class, reading it at intervals when I could get away with it. I miss how you would tease me about my handwriting, that I always forgot to cross my Xs and Ts. I miss the plans for that night, this weekend, for when we finally got to college, all contained in those handwritten notes.
I wish I still had them. I wish I hadn’t thrown them out, tossed them away so carelessly as I cleaned out my locker at the end of each semester. I wish I could go back and re-read them. To remember who you were. Who I was. What we worried about. Who we loved. What we hated more than anything. Where we thought we were going: this weekend, this summer, next year.
I wish I could go back to before we stopped writing them. Before all the real drama. Before we stopped talking on a daily basis. Before you stopped talking to me altogether in college. Before we realized we didn’t have anything in common, outside of where we grew up. Before I looked at your Facebook page and realized I didn’t know you any more, that we no longer shared mutual friends. Before I rejected your invitation to get drinks and catch up when I was home for Christmas.
Because the fact is, we don’t know each other any more. We no longer exist outside of those notes. For years, we shared our souls through ballpoint pens, lined paper, and folding patterns intricate enough to be considered origami. But now, we’re barely acquaintances.
I don’t even remember what your handwriting looks like anymore. I saw it every day for nearly four years. But four years later, I haven’t a clue. If you passed me a square of graffitied loose-leaf today, filled with everything you thought, felt, and wanted, I couldn’t identify the hand that wrote it. I wouldn’t be able to place the loopy Ys, the sloppily crossed Ts. I wouldn’t recognize you.
And maybe, you wouldn’t recognize me, too.