I Can’t Escape You

I haven’t thought about you in a long time. I probably haven’t thought about you since I was under five feet tall, single digit ages, ordering a Frappuccino to go with my slice of cookie cake because drinking coffee is cool and Frappuccinos are just like coffee. And if I think a lot about the cookie cake and the Frappuccino and all the other things in the world that aren’t you, I won’t have to think about you, right?

In fact, it’s probably best if I spend the rest of my life doing that. It’s probably best if my family spends the rest of their life pretending nothing happened, and our families just strangely stop being friends for no real reason and we live across the street from each other in silence for eight more years.

I’ll just live into my twenties before I have to think about you again. I’ll spend all the years leading up to then wondering why I have physical contact and personal space issues. I’ll wonder why I’m mildly afraid of intimacy, but crave attention desperately. I’ll constantly search for affirmation from men that I find attractive enough, but get silently terrified when we start to go too far.

My family honestly probably doesn’t remember that this even happened. I guess that’s how it works when you’re from a fucked-up small town where no one is allowed to cause any problems and no one can talk about anything and we all have to be fine because we live across the street and will theoretically live there for the next few generations.

It’s true that I really haven’t thought about you until this week.

I’ve lived with my roommate for over a year now. He’s one of my best friends. We are each other’s favorite roommates and this living situation works very well for us. The other night, it was uncovered that he has family in my hometown. I’m not really sure how we never knew this before, having known each other for three years, but I’m willing to get past that. Stranger things happen.

We’re riding home from a casual night at our favorite dive bar. We’re sitting on the train, talking about this family of his from my town and it’s no night out of the ordinary, no strange occurrence, no significant life event. That is, until he says your name.

That’s when what felt like the contents of my entire upper body dropped into my stomach. That’s when I was first forced to think about you again. It took the entire walk back to our apartment for me to even say it to my best friend. I suppose really it took almost 20 years for me to even acknowledge it.

“The reason you shouldn’t tell your cousin that it’s so crazy that you know me and that you definitely shouldn’t mention that you live with me, and the reason that I can’t really speak or formulate words right now is because your cousin is the man who sexually abused me at the age of seven.”

How do you even say that to someone? “Your cousin is the reason I’m so fucked up. Your cousin is potentially the only person I’ve never thought about in 20 years. Your cousin single-handedly changed the course of my day to day life. Without even thinking about him, he affects every minute of my day and every human interaction I have.”

I’m still not really sure why the universe wanted me to live with my roommate, and I especially don’t understand why the universe felt it necessary for me to know this at all. I’m not even really sure what this means now or how I feel about it. All I know is that I’m back to trying to figure out how to stop spending 24 hours a day thinking about you. I’m back to feeling like I’m eight years old thinking way too hard about my cookie cake and my Frappuccino because I imagine that if I just think hard enough about something else there won’t be anymore room in my brain to think about you.

You have a wife. You have a child. You have a family who loves you a lot and a life that brings you joy. I have a twin mattress on the floor of an apartment I can barely pay for and a life haunted by your existence.

Yeah, I think this is probably fair.

I’ve never needed a Frappuccino so bad. Those stupid fucking glorified milkshakes. TC mark

image – Trace Meek

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