I’m terrified of being forgotten. I’m terrified there will be a day (if there hasn’t been already) that I won’t be a passing thought in your mind. I’m terrified there was never a chance, that I simply imagined one, hoping that one day you would realize I was there all along. That despite my efforts to be charming, witty, and maybe a tinge cute, you were immune to me, even as a memory.
The funny thing is, I keep trying to forget you. Because everywhere I turn, something reminds me of you. A car that looks like yours but in a slightly darker hue, a new pun that I realize I can’t share with you, an old joke that my mind likes to revisit often. I keep trying to forget because the more I remember, the more I want to reach out and contact you.
It’s not that I can’t contact you. I easily can, too easily. It’s that I know the trap that will happen if I do — I’ve walked this road before. I’ll wait and wonder if you’ve read my message, then somehow be disappointed by the length or lack of response. I’ll keep circling in an unhealthy mix of self-hatred and pity. I am wise enough now to know what isn’t good for me. I know better to trust my mind’s desperate plea to find security and safety where there is none. In my fear I know to let go when I need to, not when I want to.
I think some of the biggest tragedies are ones that are hidden in plain sight. It’s not always the big breakups or accidents. Sometimes it’s the slow forgetting of a person, the lingering way we start to stop staying in touch. Sometimes it’s the heartbreak of someone you never dated but could have. It’s often the could-have-beens that keep you up at night, those unanswered lines of thought that travel like abandoned roads. They leave you nowhere but you can’t go back when you don’t know the way out. You keep going forward on a path that will never lead to anywhere solid.
There’s always a part that holds out hope that you’ll remember me and reach out first so I don’t have to keep agonizing about it. But I try not to count on it, not to look for that little victory. So I write and write and distract myself all day until maybe I forget.