I Still Think About You

Though a huge part of our largely-silent, post-dating acquaintanceship is based on the idea that neither of us have any interest in the other — that whatever happened between us is something entirely left in the past to wither and rot — I still think of you. I am not sure if that makes me the weak one in the equation (though I’m alright with it if I am), it’s just that the silence that is expected after separations seems too simple and, to be honest, too cruel. It’s as though a breakup of any kind means that whatever existed before is now somehow erased from the mutual history of both partners, never to be acknowledged again — and that just feels ridiculous.

And saying that I miss you wouldn’t quite be the right term, either, though I know that admitting you still think of someone you used to love immediately conjures up images of someone sitting alone in their room, listening to Death Cab or something equally emotional, and crying. I’m not crying. It’s just that, when I see photos of you or hear through the grapevine of something that you’ve been up to, I wish that reaching out to you wouldn’t be such an inappropriate step. In fact, it’s the whole “this requires a long, drawn-out explanation of why we’re talking again” thing that really confuses me — am I not allowed to ever consider your existence again? In almost every other aspect of my life, keeping tabs on things and remembering what was good is something to be praised, something that makes you an adult. Somehow, this is the exception.

What have you been doing? Are you happy in your life? The things that you always talked about doing as we lay together in bed, looking at the ceiling in that kind of dreamy, half-asleep lull of honesty — are you doing them? I want to know what you’ve been up to, I am genuinely interested about the turns your life has taken and the people you are now choosing to spend it with. Perhaps it would be inappropriate to ask, but who are you dating now? Do you like her? Do you love her? I know it must sound strange, but I have a hard time picturing even the concept of love involving you and someone else. When you create such love with someone, as you do in a relationship of a certain magnitude, the entire word “love” seems to belong to you and you alone. If you have chosen to share it with someone else, do you mean it?

Do you think about me? I know, it’s selfish, it’s childish. Nothing screams “immaturity” like wanting to catch up with someone only to shortly thereafter find out exactly what percentage of their life has to do with you still, but I’m curious. As much as I genuinely find myself thinking of what your life must consist of, it would be comforting to think that you have the same moments of reflection about me. Tell me that something as great as we were sort of echoes through the rest of your life, occasionally tapping you on the shoulder to remind you of a past that you so clearly left behind. Tell me, because the world would seem a bit too cold if it didn’t.

I have thought so many times about the implications of contacting you, of telling you simply that you’ve been on my mind, and waiting for the repercussions to permeate through the twisted groups of our mutual friends. It seems almost an exercise in masochism, the unbridled exposure of one’s heart with the expectation that, at best, the other won’t actively humiliate you. Don’t humiliate me. This isn’t some white flag with the implication that “you won” some unspoken competition — I would hope that our time spent apart has moved us past the petty distinctions of “who is happy” and “who is sad.” I would hope that we have both become happy enough in our own lives, and on our own terms, that joy is not something that has to be divided up amongst us. I want us to both be equally in love with our own chosen paths.

Yes, I am still curious. I wonder what has happened to you since I last saw you, touched you, whispered something in your ear. I wish that getting coffee and catching up like old friends was something acceptable for the two of us to do, and not something that came with a million implications about how desperate the initiating party must be. But, in the interest of honesty, I do wonder. I guess I’d like to know that your life has gone as well as I had once hoped it might, and that what you have become is something that you can sit with at the end of the day and be proud of. I knew you were meant for great things, and I want you to achieve them (even if I may have experienced a moment or two of selfish jealousy in the midst of our separation). You deserve so many great things, not the least of which is my honesty.

I still think about you, do you think about me? TC mark

image – Neal Fowler

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