To The Boy Who Just Said Goodbye

Unsplash / Todd Quackenbush
Unsplash / Todd Quackenbush

Dear Blue Eyes,

You might read this. Or maybe you’ll see the headline and avoid it because you know. We talked about it in the bar as we quietly ended things. Nobody would have known, walking past us, that we were essentially breaking up. Or really, just choosing not to proceed. I fought back a few tears. I don’t think you could tell. I was surprised they wanted to form, but my eyes felt hot. Maybe it was my ego crying.

I don’t know what to call you. Not an ex, but a something. We wanted different things, but do not mistake, you were a something to me.

I joked that at least I would get new material out of this. You smiled, those blue eyes looking straight through me.

“Don’t worry, I won’t paint you as some kind of villain. Because you’re not.”

We linked arms and said thank you to the bartender. Neither of us were bad guys in this. Is the story exciting if no one is to blame? Who do you root for when there is no hero? No antagonist? Just two kids, figuring life out, trying to be adults and balance full-time work. Sex. I don’t know. We’re not a best-seller, but maybe that book that gets tucked in the back of the library. Someone would read it, see the sweetness in our quiet ending. An image of us naked, listening to rap in your bed. Maybe we’re just an EP, we tried and it was a good listen. Not an album, but more than just one song. And I’ll fondly remember our rhythm. I’ll fall asleep to it some nights. I have never known how to erase people quickly. I can’t erase people at all, actually.

You kissed my forehead and said, “Bye, pretty girl.” I got out of your car, felt a little foreign, used to kissing you on the lips. I stumbled a little, I think. I walked inside and softly cried. I was embarrassed because my mom and stepdad saw, and I wanted to play it off. I wasn’t even really hurt. I’m not sure what I was mourning. I think I immediately missed you, just knowing it was a loss. It was this loss of some kind. Not grand or monumental, but an ending. Casual dating is weird like that. It reminds you of the emptiness. I’m looking for something. So are you, but it’s just not the same thing.

I’m sorry you got involved with a writer. It must be weird and strange with my pieces always acting as the white elephant in the room. Wondering if a poem I wrote was about you, or the comedian in Hollywood. Articles intended to make people laugh you might have read searching for subtext. This job comes with a price, lack of privacy. You were so cool with it and supportive. Thank you for that. I wondered if it would keep you awake at night, thinking about my motivation and my muses. You were okay not being a muse. But Blue Eyes, you were.

I didn’t write about you during our time because it didn’t feel fair. It felt like a betrayal or awkward, I’m not sure. I didn’t know what I would write either. I like you. You like me. But life isn’t that simple. I know that. I’ve always known that.

I think about us just being friends and it’s not totally out of the picture. I wouldn’t pine and cry, but I’d sit next to you in whatever social situation we’d be thrust in and I’d kind of wish your arm was around me. Not the whole time, just a passing touch. A kiss. I’d look at you and think about the fucking and liking. I’ve loved more often than you have. Maybe I’m just not used to the liking part. The liking part got overshadowed so quickly. Too quickly. Maybe it was okay to just wanna spend time together. I’m so consumed with this idea of love that I forget to enjoy what comes before. But that’s on me. That’s my own undoing.

You don’t need me. I don’t need you. I think I liked that.

I’m 22 and finally not drowning in this damaging idea that I need someone, or need someone to need me.

Thank you, Blue Eyes. I’m glad for whatever it was. And I’m glad for you. TC mark


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Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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