I’m Coming To Terms With The Fact That I Don’t Know You Anymore

People walk across a bridge together
Unsplash / Priscilla du Preez

We used to have this terrible habit of staying up all night talking. I always fought to keep my stinging eyes open as we sprawled out on your couch and talked about everything — what happened during the day, our childhoods, all our random thoughts. We didn’t believe in boundaries. Maybe that’s why we got so close.

It’s funny — I’ve got this whole catalogue in my head full of information about you. Some of it is useless throwaway facts, like the way you couldn’t eat bread without smothering it in honey or how obsessed you were with that one Weezer song. Others feel more important: where you were when your dad died, that time you got arrested and turned your life around, why you’ve always had so much trouble getting along with your mother. Every piece of you was stored somewhere inside me.

We don’t spend nights like that anymore; I can’t remember the last time we held a real conversation. But I still remember your favorite color and exactly how your parents met and how you drank your coffee. I still know every side street that led to your childhood home by heart, as if they’re etched into the lines of my palms. It drives me crazy that I can’t pass by your favorite cafe without thinking of the hours we used to waste there. Why do I even remember your middle name?

All this information feels so useless now, so obsolete. I’m like an outdated computer that can’t expand its database — I am still too full of all your old files. I can’t seem to delete them.

Remember when I ran into you a few months ago and asked if you’d gone to the Weezer concert? I was just making small talk just so maybe things wouldn’t feel so awkward between us, but when you looked at me, confused, my stomach dropped. “I was busy,” you said, as if it were a dumb question. And all I could do was blink, because the you I knew would’ve dropped his entire paycheck just to see them perform one single song. He would have dropped his entire life and driven halfway across the country just to see that show.

What else is different about you now? Do you still dream of working for that company on the East Coast? Have you made amends with your mother yet? Do you still watch those infuriatingly pretentious films and play those shitty covers of depressing songs that once made me cry? I wonder if you still pick out the avocados from your meals, like when you used to pile them on the side of my plate every time we went to our favorite restaurant. I wonder if you’ve learned to like the taste or if you have someone else you give them to now.

And it’s crazy, because if you counted up all the hours we spent shedding our layers for one another, it would account for days, weeks, maybe even months. We studied each other like textbooks, pored over every sentence scrawled across our spines; we filled ourselves with one another, then grew too full to hold any more. And after years of being so sure of who you are, I’m starting to realize that maybe I don’t know you at all. TC mark

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