I’m sorry that I sent you that text message, the one with the smiley face; the one about how much I enjoyed our date.
I’m sorry, because I know how it feels to receive a text message from someone you like, the incomparable, pulsating thrill of it; the way it sets our wheels into motion, gives us a new lease, a new sub-let on life.
I hate that I sent you that text message because I fear that you’ll read my words and breathe into them new life. You’ll anticipate their growth, imagine all they could become — and I can’t be sure whether they were written in such a way, mindful of such expected beauty. It’s scary how easily politeness can be sculpted into affection. It plays into our hopeful nature, gives us a reason to hold on.
We like to hold on.
If you’re anything like me, which I still suspect you might be, you’ll probably fill the words with meaning — fill them with intention. You’ll load the spaces between the lines and find, somewhere amongst the letters, a connection you crave; the one you need. I think we’re all good at that, extracting fragments of our projected happiness in that which we receive, no matter how incomplete or void of truth.
You see, when it comes to love, we’ll always stretch an inch into a mile, not because it truly satisfies us, but because we have no choice — because we need to. We need to give ourselves just enough reason to believe in the possibility that it’s real, that it exists.
Maybe I shouldn’t have replied at all. It would have been more immediately cruel, but at least you would have known. There is honesty in absence.
I really am sorry, because I understand what it means to let your guard down, to de-active your defense mechanisms and let someone in — to allow someone to move you, to hand them the power. I guess that’s what we do for people we like: we add nuance, tone, poetic justice. We complete their sentences in order to meet them half-way. We forgive too easily in the glow, in the flow of it all.
I think I sent you the text message because I hoped it would spark something for me — I wanted to convince myself that I could still move through the motions, force the feelings which once flowed so naturally. It wasn’t a lie, either, I promise. I did enjoy our date. I loved our conversations, the way we laughed into the fading sun, the way it felt so natural.
I loved how it reminded me of all the times I’d spent there before with someone, as the same waves crashed upon the same, untouched shore. I loved the familiarity, the nostalgia. I guess that I, too, was searching in the silence — for something, for another chance to hold on. I guess I thought that maybe if I tried, it would be true.
Still, I’m sorry I sent that text message because, though it was honest and though I meant every word, I know in my gut that it meant more to you than it did to me.