You’re the only person I’ve ever seriously considered marrying, and not just regular marrying but circus-marrying — the dress, the party, the hat, all of it. Yes, the hat. I had a $2,000 Swarovski crystal top hat picked out for the occasion. Not because I’ve wanted a fairy tale wedding since I was a kid but because I never seriously thought I could be stuck with one person for the rest of my life, and then you came along and floored me and I thought a legitimate commitment of that magnitude merited an absurd hat and a party.
It’s not that I haven’t tried to forget you, I have. My best friend still thinks I’m not trying hard enough, I think I am but it’s not helping; it’s that weird sticky residue left behind after peeling a price tag off plastic. Recently I learned there is a term for this. That term is “heartworm.” I feel better knowing that other people struggle with this problem.
It’s not that I wanted to exchange you for someone else. I never tried to fit someone else’s form into the imprint you left, never even wanted to cut you out per se; I just panicked because I didn’t know who I was becoming and didn’t know what to do and felt too choked, too dried out to even categorize my feelings and try to articulate them respectfully. We fought dirty so I played dirty, I’m sorry.
We’ve talked about getting back together maybe but, while exhilarating, that thought scares the hell out of me because what if we’re really just who we were except older and with jobs instead of classes? It’s always going to be an attractive idea because you have something no one else has, that much is clear, but we’re like a baking soda volcano together and know exactly how to f-ck things up. Sometimes I feel like we find some sick pleasure in doing it.
My parents wanted me to date a “nice boy” so I even tried that, I tried to date boys but they felt weird and I tried to date other girls too but they felt even weirder, what do you call a sexuality that revolves around one person? In case you’re wondering, my parents have stopped worrying about details like gender and said they just want me to be with someone who doesn’t make me feel miserable, but for some reason I know I’ve always been attracted to people who make me feel inadequate.
Sometimes I want to be with you because underneath it all, you feel like my home. Really you’re not a “good match” because you’re stubborn and judgmental and hypercritical, but at the same time you know how to handle me and you speak my language. But I don’t want to be with you because I’m scared it’ll be like thawing and reheating frozen eggrolls for the third time, limp and sloppy and probably with freezer burn.
And then there are things I remember, these experiences unique to us that I always felt meant something but probably don’t anymore, like the summer we were really broke and I wanted to make $200 by participating in a clinical trial for some synthetic opiate, and you stomped your feet and told me no and I rolled my eyes at you for being overbearing but secretly felt happy about your endearing paranoia. And the time you stayed with me in the hospital when I had a death fever and I knew you loved me more than anyone else, but the next time I was in the hospital you weren’t there and suddenly it hit me that everything has an expiration date.