Do not reread old messages before your date with the boy next door. Do not grant yourself permission to unlock your phone and scroll through the archives to the first time when he messaged you on the 2nd of October. You will read the words that you know by heart and think back the butterflies that was caught in your throat when you realize that he’s nothing like they said he would be. You will remember the innocence of infatuation and the way that you couldn’t hide your smile when he winks at you the next day. You will think back to the beginning of it all and wonder where he is now and if he still thinks of you. He’s doesn’t. Do not reread your old messages when you’re about to start new with someone else.
Do not reread old messages when you’re at a party and the loud thumps of music remind you of the way your heart used to beat around him. The present will fade before your eyes and you’ll feel this insistent need to just glance at the jokes that he used to send to you. You will remember how easily you made each other laugh and a brief window of time when the tears were joyful. You will recall the names of the songs that reminded you of him and hear his voice even months after the last phone call. Do not reread old messages when you’re surrounded by people and none of them are him.
Do not reread old messages on December 14th when you’re hit with this intense longing to daydream about how things would be like now if he had just stayed. You’ll envision fairy tales of Sunday brunch and a love so bright that you could paint masterpieces with the way that you loved him. His absence will hit you the hardest when you’re hanging up Christmas lights because there used to be a time when you shined just as brightly. Do not open old conversations when you’re wondering if he still remembers telling you that you’re the only forever he could wait for.
Do not reread old messages when you’re crying about him at 3 in the morning because it hurts so much that you suddenly understand why there’s always an abundance of sad songs. Do not play Bon Iver on the radio and reread his last words to you because he was too cowardly to face you in person. You will stay up until sunrise with teardrops on your pillow and an aching in your chest because he wasn’t supposed to break your heart like he did. You will blame yourself for his mistakes and be overcome with this desire to forgive him and run back to him because you will never hate him as much as you loved him. Do not reread old messages at 3 in the morning because you will wake up and he will still be gone.
Do not reread old messages when you’re packing up the last box and come across memories of a boy who used to promise that he’d love you forever. He didn’t.