“Hey, long time no see.”
If I told people how often I talk to myself, they’d probably be slightly concerned, especially when I go on to explain that I’m not exactly talking to me. I’m not really the kind of person who has ranting conversations with herself just to fill the silence. No, I’m not hallucinating. Not exactly. But I do find myself drifting in and out of reality when I’m alone, daydreaming about all the things I wish I’d said when I could have.
But I think about them a lot, these could-have-beens. My mind always wanders to the people I never got a proper closure from, the ones who broke my heart and left me feeling betrayed. It bothers me that there was never that last conversation. It bothers me I never got to say goodbye.
So I let myself have them. Just this once. I guess I just never get the closure I need to move past things, so I have to create my own.
“How are you?”
That’s usually the first thing I imagine asking during these hypothetical conversations, ones I know I’ll never really have. I picture the person — whoever they are this time — sitting across from me at a wooden table, maybe over coffee. In the scenario, I daydream we’d just bumped into each other somewhere and that we agreed to meet up to talk.
But the truth is I want to know. How have you been? What have you been doing all this time? Do you like your job? How’s your mother, your father, your younger brother?
I imagine them sitting across from me, thinking up answers and smiling slightly each time, probably because I haven’t changed and I still ask a million questions. I always have to make up responses I think would make sense. They got their dream job, the one they’d been applying for the last time we actually spoke. Their family is great, and they’ve just started dating this new person that makes them really happy. They’re in a good place. I always hope they’re in a good place.
I’m good too, I think. I’m good now.
“What happened to us?”
Maybe I dive deep too fast, but in my head it always makes sense. There’s pained looks shared at this part. Maybe it’s because whenever I think about what happened, it hurts. Maybe I don’t get over things as easily as I should.
The conversation changes with each person, but every time there’s a hint of apology in every word. Mine and theirs. Deep down, I always think we’re both sorry, that we didn’t mean it, that we wish we could take it back. Things fell apart. We know we can’t put them back together. We talk about how we wish we could anyway.
“You really hurt me.”
I’m not always good at telling people how I feel about anything, ever. I’m better at packing away my emotions and shoving them in dark corners of my mind, where I brood over them often but hardly let them see the light of day. “I’m over it,” I’ll tell people, but I’m not. You really hurt me. This time, I’m telling you.
I always imagine they know. I think people always know when they fucked up, even when they don’t like to admit it. We just don’t confront it because we don’t want to make things awkward, but I’m not worried about that now. I know I fucked up, too. I’ve come to terms with it.
“I really miss you.”
I do. It’s hard to admit most of the time because I’m supposed to be learning I’m better off without the people who hurt me. But just because I’m strong enough to stand on my own doesn’t mean I don’t feel like something’s missing every once in a while. I miss our talks, I miss our inside jokes, I miss the way their skin felt against mine, I miss that they could make me laugh so hard that my stomach hurt and my face muscles hurt but I was so, so happy. I miss being that happy.
And I’d like to think they miss me too. From where they sit across the table, they always nod and agree. Maybe that’s self-important of me, but it’s easier to believe I mattered enough to leave some sort of impression than to admit to myself that maybe I didn’t matter at all. I’d like to think I made them that happy, too.
“Let’s not talk anymore.”
This one’s the hardest for me because I’m not good at endings. I always feel the need to send one last text, to make one last phone call, to pour everything that’s inside me into words so I don’t have to leave anything left unsaid. I keep too many things hidden and I’m afraid if I don’t say things now, I’ll never say them again.
So I imagine every last emotion I never got to express, and every word I never got to say, and every last scenario that didn’t play out the way I dreamed they would. I let them out, and I let them go. This time, for the last time.